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Local News

Cottage Rehab Employee Facing Civil Charges in Sexual Assault Case

One of the women alleging she was sexually assaulted by an employee at a local rehabilitation center has chosen to file civil charges against the man after the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office decided it could not successfully prosecute him criminally.

Jose Trinidad Carrillo, 55, of Summerland was arrested in 2012 on allegations that he sexually abused two women suffering from brain injuries while they were in his care at the Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital.

“The two victims were women dealing with recovering from brain injuries,” Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood, adding that among the things Carrillo was responsible for were bathing the women. “It’s during those times that the sexual assault allegedly took place.”

Harwood said the incidents came to the attention of the police on June 11, 2012, when a 46-year-old female victim from San Luis Obispo reported that the crime had taken place in January 2011.

“She came to the Police Department to report this,” and a detective followed up with her, Harwood said.

The initial victim reported a single incident in 2011, but during the course of the investigation, the detective discovered another victim, a 54-year-old woman from Santa Maria, who articulated that a number of incidents had occurred while she was a patient there in March and April of 2010, Harwood said.

A warrant was obtained for Carrillo’s arrest. He was arrested on Oct. 19, 2012, on charges of penetration of foreign object, oral copulation and two counts of felony sexual battery.

Those charges were eventually dropped, however, when prosecutors did not feel they could prosecute Carrillo because of the nature of the women’s brain injuries, which could have potentially affected their testimony.

When asked about the case, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said that the filing criteria in any case rests on the ability to prove criminal charges, through admissible evidence to the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

“This standard is the highest standard of proof, and rightly so, because it affects someone’s liberty,” Dudley said. “In this case, our filing criteria could not be met.”

The civil case is moving forward in Santa Barbara County Superior Court and is scheduled to appear back before Judge Colleen Sterne on Aug. 5.

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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