Saturday, May 26 , 2018, 4:10 am | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Man Who Pleaded Guilty to Sexual Assault in Downtown Nightclub Faces Prison Time, Deportation

Elpidio Garcia-Venegas
 

A man who pleaded guilty to sexual-battery charges in 2012 after he allegedly pinned a woman against a wall and began touching her sexually in a downtown Santa Barbara nightclub will face two years in prison before he is deported to Mexico.

Elpidio Garcia-Venegas, 29, was taken into custody on Aug. 21, 2012, on felony sexual-battery charges after three officers responded to a call at Tonic Nightclub at 634 State St.

Garcia-Venegas allegedly pinned a woman against a wall and began touching her sexually on the club’s dance floor, according to the Santa Barbara Police Department.

He pleaded guilty to felony sexual battery by restraint on May 21, and was sentenced this week to two years in state prison, according to Paula Waldman, senior deputy district attorney for the Vulnerable Victims Unit.

“He will serve his prison time, then be deported to Mexico,” she said. “Should he ever return to the U.S., he must register for life as a sex offender.”

After the assault, Garcia-Venegas later declined to make a statement, other than to initially say that he had been “sexy dancing” with girls at the nightclub, Sgt. Riley Harwood told Noozhawk at the time.

When officers arrived, Garcia-Venegas had been detained by club security, and police contacted the alleged victim, a 22-year-old female foreign student who was very distraught over the incident.

The woman alleged Garcia-Venegas approached her and offered to buy her a drink. She agreed, and the pair moved to the dance floor, where he allegedly pressed the victim through the crowd and toward the raised DJ booth.

The victim stated she found herself unable to get away from Garcia-Venegas, who said he pressed her against the wall, and began to sexually assault her on the dimly-lit dance floor.

The assault was spotted when a passing busboy, who observed the two against the wall and noticed that the victim was crying and had a panicked look on her face.

The busboy confronted Garcia-Venegas, who started to move toward the door. He was restrained by the busboy, who alerted security and was detained until police arrived.

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.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >