Sunday, 14 April 2024

REGIONAL: Roadside attacker to stand trial for eight sexual assault charges

SANTA ROSA – A Cotati man who is alleged to have sexually assaulted multiple women in roadside attacks that spanned several months will stand trial on eight felony charges, officials reported thiw week.

On Thursday, following a preliminary hearing that stretched over two and a half days, Sonoma County Judge Kenneth Gnoss ruled that Thomas Boccaleoni, 44, will stand trial on eight felony counts of sexual assault, according to the office of Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling to advance this case to the next stage,” Passalacqua said. “We are confident that once this case goes in front of a jury, there will be a positive outcome.”

The prosecution has charged Boccaleoni with sexual penetration by force, two counts of assault with intent to commit rape or penetration with a foreign object, two counts of making criminal threats, one count of sexual assault while victim is unlawfully restrained, and two counts of false imprisonment.

During the preliminary hearing, two of the victims testified, as well as a DNA expert and the case’s lead detective, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Pedersen. Judge Gnoss found there was sufficient evidence for Boccaleoni’s case to be held over for jury trial, according to Passalacqua's report.

The case goes back to court on Monday, Feb. 1, for a ruling on a third count of assault with intent to commit rape or penetration with a foreign object, relating to the third victim, Passalacqua's office reported.

The acts occurred on rural roads in Sonoma County from November 2008 to April 2009, officials reported.

The three women allegedly were followed by a vehicle flashing its headlights while following behind them on rural Bennett Valley Road and Calistoga Road, and on Bodega Highway west of Sebastopol, according to Passalacqua's report.

In each of the three cases the women pulled their cars over and were eventually sexually assaulted, officials said. Two of the victims were able to identify Boccaleoni as the man who assaulted them. DNA evidence linked Boccaleoni to the third victim.

Deputy District Attorney Jason Riehl is the prosecutor assigned to the case.

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