Sexual Assault and Child Abuse

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The felony Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit is comprised of a highly-trained and specialized team of Deputy District Attorneys, District Attorney Investigators, District Attorney Victim Advocates, and support staff who are all dedicated to aggressive and just prosecution of perpetrators of sexual assault, human trafficking, and child abuse crimes. The Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit handles a number of significant cases, including prosecutions for sexually motivated homicides, child homicides, sexual assaults on adult victims, child molestation, child pornography, child abuse, human trafficking, pimping, pandering, failing to properly register as a sexual offender, and indecent exposure.  The team is dedicated to helping victims navigate their way through the criminal justice system, and to convicting their perpetrators.


All cases taken by the Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Unit are prosecuted vertically, meaning the same team handles the case from the earliest stage (filing of charges) all the way through the trial and sentencing. The victim will see the same Deputy District Attorney, the same Investigator, and the same Victim-Witness Advocate throughout the entire process. This vertical handling of the caseload increases effectiveness in understanding the dynamics of each particular case and the needs of each victim.


The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office works closely with other criminal justice agencies and community partners to effectively prosecute these cases, while providing much needed sensitivity and services to victims of sexual assault.  Our office representatives meet regularly with representatives from law enforcement, Child Protective Services, Monterey County Behavioral Health, the Department of Justice, Monterey County Health Department, Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, Child Advocacy Center at Natividad Medical Center, the Sexual Assault Response Team, the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Response Program, and the District Attorney Victim Witness Assistance Program to assure a coordinated and cooperative response to allegations of sexual assault and abuse.   


If you or someone close to you has been a victim of sexual assault, you are encouraged to report it to the law enforcement agency where the abuse occurred.  It is best to report a sexual assault as soon as possible because an early report will permit the preservation of valuable evidence. However, a late report will be accepted. A victim should not refrain from reporting an assault simply because there has been a delay.


Victim Rights:

-          A victim of sexual assault has the right to request that his/her name and address be kept confidential from the public, both in court records and during testimony.

-          A victim has the right to be present at the defendant’s sentencing and to make a victim impact statement to the sentencing judge.

-          A victim of sexual assault may have one support person that he/she chooses, and one sexual assault counselor with him/her when he/she talks to the police and during the medical examination.

-          Victims of sexual assault may be protected in the following ways:

o   Emergency Protective Order – Ask a police officer

o   Criminal Protective Order – Ask the District Attorney’s Office, (831) 755-5072

o   Civil Harassment Order, (831) 647-5800 ext. 3005, (1) Monterey Self-Help Center: 1200 Aguajito Rd, Monterey, CA 93940, (2) Salinas Self-Help Center: 240 Church Street, Salinas, CA 93901, or (3) Greenfield Self-Help Center: 599 El Camino Real, Greenfield, CA 93927.

-          The District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Assistance Program provides support to the children and their families throughout the criminal justice process. DA Victim Advocates can provide assistance with crisis intervention, emergency assistance (housing, food, medical care, etc.), assistance with filing for crime compensation claims, and provide community resource referrals.  Counseling is also available to help victims heal from their victimization.  If you have question about your case or if you would like to speak to one of our victim advocates, you may reach the DA Victim Advocates at (831) 755-5072 for the Salinas Office, or (831) 385-8325 for the King City Office

-          Visit the Marsy’s Law website at for more information about victim’s rights.


Counseling: The following places provide counseling for sexual assault victims:

-       Monterey County Rape Crisis Center – 24-hour hotline (831) 375-4357 or (831) 424-4357, or

-       YWCA of Monterey County – 24-hour hotline (831) 372-6300 or (831) 757-1001, or  

-       DA Victim Advocates at (831) 755-5072 for the Salinas Office, or (831) 385-8325 for the King City Office


Reasons to report a sexual assault:

-       Many perpetrators are repeat offenders. Reporting the crime can help identify and apprehend an attacker before he/she strikes again.

-       Reporting the crime may provide the victim with a way to lessen or end his/her victimization.

-       By taking action to bring an offender to justice, a victim may be empowered.

-       The offender is subject to prosecution.

-       A victim who reports the crime and is cooperative with law enforcement is eligible for free counseling and compensation from the California Victim Compensation Program.





What is Child Abuse:

Child abuse involves the maltreatment, injury, or exploitation of a person under 18 years old in one of the following ways: physically, sexually, emotionally, or through neglect.  Abuse includes willfully endangering a child’s health or safety.  Physical abuse is the intentional infliction of physical injury on a child that results in a traumatic condition such as a bruise, burn, cut, scratch, bite mark, abrasion, fracture, or other internal injury.  Willfully causing a child unjustifiable physical pain is abuse.  Sexual abuse is the sexual assault or exploitation of a minor.  Emotional abuse involves conduct that causes emotional injury to a child, sometimes resulting in psychological, behavioral, and cognitive disorders.  Depriving a child of normal life activities, affection, attention, or human contact may also constitute emotional abuse.  Willfully causing a child unjustifiable mental suffering is abuse.  Neglect occurs when a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for a child’s care and welfare fails to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, or medical care, endangering or harming the child’s health or well-being.  Laws prohibiting child abuse and neglect apply to foster homes, institutions, agencies, schools, camps, and other out-of-home care providers.


How to Report Child Abuse:

If you are a victim of child abuse, tell a trusted adult such as a teacher, a school counselor, a relative, a friend’s parent, or the police about the abuse. You can also call the Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000. 


If you know or suspect that a child is being abused, you may also call the Child Protection Hotline at 1-800-540-4000.  If the abuse is in progress or you believe the child is in immediate danger, please call 911.