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Local News

Parolee Accused in Attempted Sexual Battery

Santa Barbara police say the victim, a 61-year-old disabled woman, had once met the suspect years ago

A parolee has been arrested on suspicion of attempted sexual battery, burglary and other felonies after allegedly entering the apartment of a 61-year-old disabled woman and threatening to hurt her if she didn’t give in to his sexual advances, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Craig Lewis Thomas
Craig Lewis Thomas

Sgt. Riley Harwood said Thursday that suspect Craig Lewis Thomas, 49, allegedly knocked on the door of the Bath Street apartment on Monday and heard “Come in” from the victim, who was lying in bed and thought it was her friend arriving to give her a ride downtown. The victim told police she was surprised and became frightened when she saw it was Thomas, whom she had met once years earlier when his then-wife brought her a meal.

The suspect allegedly entered the victim’s bedroom and sat in her wheelchair. He then told the woman he was divorced and looking for a relationship, and allegedly began fondling himself through his clothing, according to Harwood. The suspect demanded in a threatening tone that the victim touch him, which she refused. She told police that Thomas eventually went into the bathroom, where she believed he masturbated, then he walked out on the front porch to smoke a cigarette.

The victim called 9-1-1. A short time later, her friend arrived to pick her up and, according to the victim, she was surprised to see Thomas smoking on the porch. Both went inside the apartment, where the victim was able to signal to her friend that she needed help. Despite being scared herself, the friend remained with the victim until officers arrived.

Harwood said investigators recovered DNA evidence from the bathroom.

Thomas was taken into custody on suspicion of attempted sexual battery upon a physically incapacitated person, false imprisonment against a dependent adult, burglary, possession of a controlled substance and aggravated trespassing. He was being held without bail, since he was on parole for a narcotics offense.

Harwood said officers reported finding small quantities of cocaine and marijuana in Thomas’ vehicle.

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