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Local News

DA Files Charges in Sex Abuse/Hate Crimes Case

Michael John Stinchfield
Michael John Stinchfield

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office has filed 13 felony charges against a suspect accused of sexual abuse and hate crimes in his downtown home last week.

Officials have released little information about the incident that occurred in a Garden Street home Friday, but have confirmed that they’ve arrested Michael John Stinchfield, 55, of Santa Barbara.

As of Tuesday, District Attorney Joyce Dudley is charging him with assault with intent to commit rape, sexual battery by restraint, dissuading a witness by force or threat, criminal threats, false imprisonment by violence, and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury with a weapon.

Detectives told Noozhawk on Friday that officers were dispatched to the home in the 1700 block of Garden Street just before 5 a.m. Friday, to a report of a disturbance in progress. When they arrived, two women were seen running out of the home, one of whom was screaming, and both had visible injuries, according to Santa Barbara police Detective Michael Claytor.

The women told officers that Stinchfield had attacked them with a bat, held them against their will for several hours, and sexually assaulted them. Stinchfield was taken into custody at the scene, and later booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail

It has not been revealed why the women were in the home or how they knew Stinchfield.

The complaint charges Stinchfield with the same charges for each woman, however, with the first victim, identified only as Jane Doe 1, Stinchfield faces special allegations of hate crime.

One of the charges he is facing is a count of sexual battery by restraint, and the complaint states he “willfully and unlawfully touched an intimate part of Jane Doe 1 while said person was restrained by said defendant, and an accomplice, against the will of said person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse.”

Each of the charges for the women also has a special allegation of committing the offense after having been release on bail.

Stinchfield was arrested in September for allegedly refusing to pull over after reaching speeds of 100 mph and led officers on a chase from Carpinteria to Los Angeles. An unidentified woman was in his vehicle at the time, and Stinchfield was eventually arrested at gunpoint on the freeway.

The complaint also lists dissuading a victim by force or threat as a count for both victims, and the complaint says Stinchfield threatened the women not to call law enforcement.

The complaint goes further to say the Stinchfield committed criminal threats against the women, saying he would kill them and that the safety of their families would be compromised.

False imprisonment by violence is listed for both women, as well as assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury with a deadly weapon — a baseball bat. 

Another count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury with a deadly weapon is listed against Jane Doe 2, this time with a guitar strap.

Stinchfield’s arraignment was continued Tuesday, and he is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday morning, according to Ben Ladinig, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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