David Raymond Bates was a 19-year-old graduate of Los Gatos High School in California. In the summer of 2012, he still visited the school, with a special focus on cheerleading practice. He particularly liked freshman girls, some as young as 13 years old and just out of junior high. Between June and August 2012, Bates sexually assaulted four girls, ages 13, 14 and 15. In September of that year, he was charged with 13 counts of sexual assault against minors, including unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old.
This month after pleading no contest to the charges, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Philip Pennypacker sentenced Bates to three years probation, giving him credit for the one year served in county jail awaiting trial.
During the preliminary hearing in 2012, Bates’ public defender Ross McMahon suggested that the girls consented to the sexual activity and that Bates was not a sophisticated sexual predator. Aside from the fact that a 13-year-old (or 14, or 15-year-old) cannot legally consent to sex, the sophistication of a predator is not a known legal defense.
After a hearing last month, where Judge Pennypacker indicated he was leaning towards probation, the 13-year-old statutory rape victim’s parent contacted the Los Gatos Patch. “Bates is a serial rapist and has ruined my daughter’s childhood. My daughter was a child just out of middle school, she was an A/B student focused on cheer and not sexually active at the time.”
The parent shared how the girl’s life had taken a downward spiral, “I have lost my daughter. She was being bullied in the school by other students after the assault, lost her self esteem, quit cheer, turned to drugs and alcohol and I have had to check her into an intense residential therapy program.”
It was at that October hearing that Judge Pennypacker ordered a psychological examination of Bates. The doctor reported that Bates did not exhibit the tendencies of a pedophile, and, as the judge noted at sentencing, was not predisposed to commit offenses against children. Though he acknowledged there was some “minor stalking and coercion.”
While even if this assessment is true, the fact is, he has committed offenses against children. Four of them. Repeatedly. Is there a requirement of a length of time and number victims before a rapist can be punished for his crimes? If the first victim was indeed his first, he had three more over the course of just three months. If he wasn’t predisposed to offending children, he did seem to have developed a preference rather quickly.
While his victims are dealing with the trauma of their assaults, the now 20-year-old Bates is out of prison. He must register for life as a sex offender because the charges for the 13-year-old qualify him as a three strikes offender. Unemployed and lacking skills, he must also pay restitution to the victims. He is required to stay away from Los Gatos High School and the victims’ homes.
It should be noted that at the time of his arrest last year, Los Gatos High School had gotten a restraining order against Bates because of his habit of visiting cheerleading practice. He had become interested in two more girls.
Photo credit: David Raymond Bates Booking Photo via Los Gatos Patch