Lajmiri had allegedly approached the girl on five occasions between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30 to talk about her dog on a local trail, but the last three encounters turned into Lajmiri inappropriately touching the teen, according to police.
The girl encountered Lajmiri on her evening dog walks on the trail, according to her statement to police. Lajmiri’s interactions with the girl allegedly progressed from him talking to her about her dog to the septuagenarian inappropriately touching her, according to police reports.
The father, a working prosecutor whose identity is being withheld to protect his daughter’s anonymity, could face legal consequences, the Mercury News reported.
The father, his wife and the teen started scoping out Lajmiri multiple times after the girl disclosed to her doctor in an October physical that she had been sexually assaulted, according to police records. A police investigation launched the next day.
An October police description of the assailant depicted him as being between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10 with “balding white hair” and yellow, crooked teeth.
In the father’s statement to police, he said he and his daughter had determined the area where they would most likely run into Lajmiri.
The plan was for the teen to walk back and forth on the trail as they stayed connected to one another with phones and ear buds, something they had already practiced several times before, according to the police report. The father recorded on his cellphone the assault that led to Lajmiri’s arrest.
Part of the plan included instructing the teen to allow Lajmiri to touch her if she ran into him but to back away if he touched her breasts or between her legs, according to court records.
In the first week of November, the girl’s father took a photograph of Lajmiri wearing gray sweatpants and a green Windbreaker and sent it to his wife, who showed the picture to their daughter, according to the police report. She said the man in the photo looked like the man who assaulted her, the report said.
On Nov. 4, the girl’s father contacted authorities again about a possible sighting of Lajmiri. While driving with her mother, the daughter had pointed out a person whom she thought was her assailant. The mother parked her vehicle, got out and followed Lajmiri to his home, according to court and public records.
Police set up surveillance that day but did not arrest Lajmiri.
In a police review of the father’s video, Lajmiri can be seen wearing the same gray and green outfit, placing his arm around the teen’s waist, sitting very close to her on a bench and pulling her back down on the bench by the waist, according to police documentation.
Police arrested Lajmiri the next day in the same outfit that would later be seized by authorities, according to police records.
Lajmiri admittied to knowing the girl from the trail, wrapping his arms around and touching her waist, kissing her hand and her head and sitting with her on a bench Nov. 11, according to the police report. Any touching of her buttocks or her chest area was accidental, he said, according to the report.
Although he did admit to the many actions that the teen reported, he told authorities that he had trouble remembering some of his interactions with her because of his Alzheimer’s disease, according to court records.
Because the father worked in the district attorney’s office, the agency has removed itself from the case to avoid conflicts of interest, according to the Mercury News.
The state’s attorney general’s office will be handling the case, and state prosecutors are considering filing child endangerment charges against the teenager’s father, the paper reported.
The California attorney general’s office did not respond to a request to comment on the possibility of charges against the father.
Matthew Wallin, an attorney and partner at Tustin, Calif.-based Wallin and Klarich, said the district attorney has complete discretion in determining whether to file charges.
Child endangerment laws are considered “wobbler” laws, which means the attorney general’s office could charge the father with a felony or a misdemeanor — with a large difference in penalties, Wallin said.
“It’s important to note that [the law] doesn’t require the child to suffer an actual injury,” Wallin said. “It’s about placing them in a situation of unjustifiable risk or physical or mental harm.”
Although the father’s plan did eventually lead to the arrest of a man accused of molesting his daughter, that doesn’t mean that the law will see the risk as legitimate, Wallin said.
“The issue is unreasonable risk for the child, not what the long game is for your conduct,” he said.
One of the best courses of action for sexual assault victims or the parents of survivors is to make sure the victims are safe and in an environment that does not expose them to triggers, said Kristen Zaleski, clinical associate professor of social work at the University of Southern California’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
Even though children and adults respond similarly to sexual assault, children seem to blame themselves more for the assaults than adults, said Nicole Starace, clinical assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Lajmiri will be back in court Jan. 29. He is represented by a public defender, according to court records. The public defender’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
If convicted, Lajmiri could be sentenced to as much as 30 years in prison.