CA judge “Turner-ed” by lying victim’s statement, fears recall

By Tracey Kaplan . . . PALO ALTO — Sean Ryan thought everything was set: he’d struck a deal to serve a year in county jail for having sex with a 15-year-old girl who claimed she was an adult.

But when the victim showed up at Ryan’s sentencing hearing to ask that he be sent to state prison and required to register as a sex offender for life, the case took a surprising turn.

In a rare move, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Vincent J. Chiarello pulled the plug on the deal he had helped negotiate, which had included letting Ryan voluntarily go to jail three months before the agreement was to be finalized. In explaining his change of heart, the judge said he agreed with the victim that Ryan would be a danger to others unless he were imprisoned.

Defense lawyers claim Ryan was “Turner-ed,’’ a term they coined to define what happens when a judge throws the book at a defendant to avoid becoming the target of the outrage that has fueled a recall movement against Judge Aaron Persky. Last summer, Persky gave former Stanford athlete Brock Turner a relatively lenient jail sentence for sexual assault after the victim’s powerful statement about her assault went viral.

Chiarello declined to comment and, as a judge, cannot discuss pending cases. But Ryan’s lawyer and other defense attorneys at the Palo Alto courthouse noted that Chiarello’s decision came three days after recall advocates, in a well-publicized move, filed notice to put their campaign to oust Persky on the June ballot.

“Judge Chiarello gave a whole raft of reasons for busting Ryan’s plea deal, all of which I thought were absolute baloney,’’ said Philip Schnayerson, Ryan’s lawyer. “The reason for his decision is he noticed one of his fellow judges was being filed on for a recall three days earlier and he was terrified.’’

In contrast, the judge later that morning spared another man from prison in a sex case, noted public defender Gary Goodman. The difference? No victims showed up to speak at the sentencing of Rob Chapman. Chapman had admitted going on “missions” to look for young girls to rub up against and was convicted of felony charges for inappropriately touching three girls at a grocery store and a mall by grabbing their buttocks or stroking their hair.

Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, who is leading the movement to recall Persky, says there’s no evidence that the political campaign played any role in Chiarello’s decision to set aside Ryan’s plea agreement. She praised Chiarello for listening to the victim, something Persky’s critics said he failed to do. According to a transcript of the hearing, Chiarello cited several other factors in his decision, including that the defendant had communicated online in a sexual manner with other girls he knew were underage.

Please read the rest of this article in The Mercury News.

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    • #18860 Reply
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      Charlie

      Coward: a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things… in order save his job.
      Is that what your “founding fathers” wanted?

    • #18881 Reply
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      W.C._TN

      What a dirty, sorry, 2-faced coward. This man’s a joke of a judge. What a contemptuous excuse for a judge!

    • #18891 Reply
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      Beth

      Outrageous! Our system is broken -completely and utterly broken. We have nit wit Judges in charge of people’s lives. They aren’t to be trusted.
      Everything is fueled by politics. Lies are made, and people suffer all in the name of it looks good on the books.

    • #18895 Reply
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      Tod Siegel

      I understand that a lot of what these articles are about on how SO’s are treated in society, this one, as a SO, I have to agree with the judge. Yes, he changed his mind after he heard from the victim – and isn’t she the most important person in this story. she (supposedly) lied about her age, but I have rarely seen that hold up in any court. Bottom line, the guy had sex with an underaged girl and thought he was only going to have to spend a year in jail. If it was in Colorado, he would have a MINIMUM of 10 to LIFE, this article doesn’t explain what the term the judge did decide, but I bet it is still not 10-life, some judges here would even go to 20-life. Just read a story of another female teacher getting pregnant by a teenage boy, 14, she will probably get a couple years, probably no prison time – again, in Colorado, if it was a man, would be 20-life. I think there needs to be some caution and care that there are many victims and SO’s commited those crimes – do the punishments always fit, not even close, lifetime registry, nope, but in this case, there was a victim, and cannot lose that fact in trying to feel sorry for a guy who probably knew she was under age.

      • #18909 Reply
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        Maestro

        I’ll be accused (as always) of lashing out and someone might tell me to “tone it down” but I HAVE to speak my piece on what was said by Tod;

        ” I have to agree with the judge.”

        Because you have been conditioned to do so?

        “Yes, he changed his mind after he heard from the victim – and isn’t she the most important person in this story. she (supposedly) lied about her age”….,

        Here you offer up a very sharp double edged sword; you made it clear that you understand she lied about her age, then you say she’s a “victim” and she’s the important one in this issue. Ummm…so natural acts between sexual (post pubescent) human beings is the most drastic thing that could happen? (Taking into consideration that the legal age varies from one state to the next).
        The same teenager who would produce a fake ID to get alcohol is still a “victim” of the person who sold them the alcohol because the teenager couldn’t possibly have understood what she was doing with a fake ID, right? Bad analogy? Ok, then let’s try this one – teenager (under legal sexual consent age who couldn’t possibly understand what sex is) finds daddy’s pistol and shoots his/her school bully.
        Suddenly the teenager KNOWS right from wrong and must be convicted. But something NATURAL like sex (oh no! Not that!) and purposely LYING to get sex with an older person makes HER the “victim”?
        Man, your P.O. and the SO Treament Group Leaders must love you! You’re saying everything the way they’ve conditioned you. Awesome!

        ” but I have rarely seen that hold up in any court.”

        Well then it’s about time that nonsense changes, don’t you think? Or would you be in favor of someone LYING about YOU touching them while passing through a crowded grocery store isle? Would you surrender yourself and say “She lied about me rubbing against her in a sexual manner BUT she IS the victim in this case so therefore I’ll take the blame”.
        Doubtful.

        “Bottom line, the guy had sex with an underaged girl and thought he was only going to have to spend a year in jail”

        Bottom line; Teenagers should be held responsible for their own actions. I’d say this young girl borderlines “blackmail” with what she did to this guy. Since we were not given the lowdown on HOW their relationship got found out or even if she had threatened him with blackmail because he walked out on her when she finally told him her real age.

        If more people who are RSO’s talk like you, we’ll NEVER get any changes to happen for us because the powers that be will figure that we’re all admitting guilt and that we agree with every punishment for any type of offense, even if we are lied to, mislead or even blackmailed into it.

        • #19393 Reply
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          Jonny everyman

          The law is to not have sex with under age girls or boys. The fact you don’t get that is troublesome

      • #18990 Reply
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        arax

        No Tod! The victim is not the only important part of this picture. The law is the law! No victim should have to send anyone to a long drawn out sentence no matter she lied about her age or not! Victims should not even appear in the court room. What is the purpose of that? Victim and perpetrator should both forgive, get help to heal so they can both get back to living life.

      • #30543 Reply
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        Steve White

        Your opinion is insane – this is not a child getting raped, this is a young woman – our culture does not acknowledge that but biologically she is a young woman – who wanted this guy to come over and have sex with her and induced him to do it by lying to him – and, after lying to him, she lied extensively to the cops – I am in the area and I’ve independently researched the case- she’s from an extremely rich family, the guy she wants to destroy is not.

        The cops were likely disgusted at being lied to but with the money in her family, who have decided their daughter has no responsibility for her own actions, he is getting, no just prosecuted but destroyed.

    • #18904 Reply
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      Should she be charged too?

      What can legally be done to the young lady who lied about her age in this situation? Anything?

      Lying is a protect form of speech, even if you don’t agree with it, unless under oath of statement or testimony where you swear or sign what you say is true. There needs to be some legal repercussion for her in this case also, since she lied to him initially until she came clean on her age, which then he walked away. She lied to him for the purposes of sexual pleasure at an alleged appropriate age before saying what her age really was then. Entrapment? Interesting quandary to consider whether she should get away free from this where false pretenses (age) were stated. Fraud? Can the guy press charges under fraud?

      • #18908 Reply
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        Charge her too

        Not knowing the real age of the victim is no defense. Really? Believing fraudulent statements given is not a defense? She needs to be charged with fraud. She presented herself in one light, when she was not even close to it. Her statements may be protected speech by 1st Amendment, but her intent and presentation was fraudulent and illegal in doing so.

        A minor who is served alcohol can get the server and establishment in trouble because they believe the ID presented should it show 21 or over. The minor can be charged with Minor in Consumption and/or Possession (two charges there). Both parties can get into trouble in the end.

        The girl should be charged too since the guy is also.

    • #18902 Reply
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      Saddles

      I think this judge is somewhat of a jezebel tyrant and is one lawyer told me they are playing the sin squad in a lot of these laws. As it stands both need to learn a lesson the gal involved also. Where is American government today. Just goes to show you that justice needs to be revamped.

    • #18928 Reply
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      mine

      I’m sick of these terrible dishonest young whores who entrap men . This is NOT right!

    • #18947 Reply
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      Sue Wearethepeople

      Accountability is the issue, or the lack of, on the so called victim’s part. I say in the case when someone lies, the so called victim should be required to accept the accountability for their actions. Age is the reason that the case went to trial. Age is the reason the young man had to go to jail in the first place. Age is the reason that this was even a issue. This is what needs to stop!

    • #18959 Reply
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      Claire

      The system is as corrupt as politics has become. People raise such an alarm when it comes to sex offenders that judges and prosecutors know they better be harsh. The girl has blame in this too. There are too many young girls dressing and acting like they’re in there 20’s. Our whole society is too blame for encouraging this sexual behavior in young people. By there dress, music, and TV. What is worse is the hysteria towards sex offenders. They aren’t given a chance to live a normal life, not only do they suffer but also their families. Why should they have to register when you can murder some one get less time and resume your life. The penal system is a BIG money maker. People would be shocked to find out the details of how much money is made from an inmate and what corporations are making off this.

      • #18988 Reply
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        arax

        I’m sorry but it’s the judicial system that needs an overhaul and not just the victims and perpetrators. Our justice system has gone to the other extreme- where judges take the victim’s testimony and that’s how they render their sentences. The facts and the laws governing the case should be the determinant and not the victim’s testimony. Victims almost always will want to obliterate their perpetrators but where is the law and common sense? If our system keeps running on victim’s testimonies, everyone going to court will have to look at dozens of years of incarceration and never getting off that darn “registry”

      • #18991 Reply
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        Maestro

        Claire,

        In days gone by it was quite normal for young females to get involved with and marry much older men. There were no “short-shorts” or yoga pants back then. There was no Madonna or Lady Gaga.
        If anything, the changing times should make the laws on age of consent a bit more lenient, not worse.
        Let’s face it; we’ve all been teenagers with hormones.
        We’ve all had crushes on older people. Lots of us had posters of Farrah Fawcet and Andy Gibb on our bedroom walls.
        But, of you want to know what’s actually happening in today’s youth, they’re referring to older people as “creepy”. It’s very few these days (like this girl) who actually attempt to go for older men. They’re out there, but very few.
        BTW, has anyone noticed how peculiar it is that whatever the legal age is for a particular state/region, it’s always the teens that are 1 yr under that age who actually hook up with older people? I’ve taken an observation of that. When these teens turn “of age”, suddenly they’re not interested in older guys anymore. As if they know they’re legal now so now it’s not so risky and cool. Just a thought I wanted to share and ask if anyone else has noticed it.

        • #19558 Reply
          Avatar
          The navy would be sunk!

          Maestro,

          I can remember when I was a younger man back in the mid-late 80’s, the high school girls in my high school were chasing the sailors in my hometown who were all older, some well older, than them. If the same pursuit today of those who break the law on underage dating was done then, half the navy would be in the brig and facing charges!

    • #18948 Reply
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      Darrel Hoffman

      I can’t say I feel sorry for Sean, because if he weren’t looking to commit fornication, his sin wouldn’t have found him out. Until guys learn to keep it in their pants regardless until marriage, you’ll see more of this nonsense. I understand the little bimbo lied about her age, but so did Delilah to Samson and look what she did to him. That, of course, doesn’t let the judge off the hook because he’s scared about his own political future. When a person can go to prison just on the say-so of one person, that is NOT justice, and I have no doubt that that little bimbo had plenty to say in revenge about Sean, when she lied about her age to start with. She is just as guilty as he is. But, when judges finally get a backbone and stop ruling based on public opinion and by the Constitution again, this nonsense will stop. Also, it shows the wisdom our forefathers had when they wrote that federal judges are to be appointed for life to shield them from such public opinion. It’s too bad the States didn’t follow that example. Michigan is one of them and our CSC law states very clearly that “the testimony of a victim DOES NOT NEED TO BE COOPERATED in prosecutions under subsections 520 (b) through 520 (g)” (MCL 750.520 H). I don’t think I need to explain what that means, for it’s obvious-the State needs no other evidence to convict a person of Criminal Sexual Conduct than the testimony of a victim which does not need any support or substantiation. That’s how I got convicted. Scary, isn’t it?

      • #18993 Reply
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        Maestro

        See now, if I say my piece to what Darrell said, I’ll be accused of passing judgment on those who believe in religion. When In fact, Darrell here has decided to pass judgement on people’s sexual behaviors and condemned them with his religious beliefs. Religious beliefs that no one is OBLIGATED to believe in.
        Sex is natural. End of story. Marriage is a waste of paper and is never favorable to the men during divorce.

        Please stop forcing your beliefs on everyone. It’s not “fornication”, it’s human (animal) nature….from both age groups. Thank you.

        • #19017 Reply
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          Chris

          You really don’t do Christianity any favors by making statements like that. You make all Christians look like judgmental assholes. (Or maybe I just assumed you were Christian. Apologies if you are not. Either way, you are a judgmental asshole.)

        • #19034 Reply
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          No one is obligated

          No one is obligated to sex either Maestro, even when it is natural. One can abstain if they chose.

    • #19016 Reply
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      Chris

      I gotta say, I am disheartened by the comments posted on this story and in other articles on this site. There are people that comment a lot who, I believe, have lost sight of the big picture here. We, as a class of individuals, are lobbying for a change to sex offender registration laws. We would be foolish to believe that only registered offenders peruse these articles and read these comments. If I’m being honest, if I was a non-registrant (or district attorney, or state legislator, etc) and reading this, I would feel like the registry is completely justified. Even as a registrant, if I ignored empirical evidence and only took these comments into consideration, I would feel like the registry was justified. Too many people on here want to deny that they caused harm, put blame on the victim, act as if their actions were justified. The only way that the registry gets abolished is if society begins to see us as no threat. The comments on this article, and throughout the site tell me that I have little to hope for. How very sad that the few must condemn the rest of us.

      I have no doubt that some will take exception to this and “call me out.” I would suggest it likely that those who feel the need to do so, may be compelled by a guilty heart and that they are trying to convince themselves of their virtue rather than me or anyone else. But go ahead and put me on blast anyway.

      Robin, et al, you guys do a great job. Best of luck.

      • #19020 Reply
        Robin Vander Wall
        Robin Vander Wall
        Admin

        Thank you, Chris. I appreciate the kindness. To be candid, I am mostly to blame here. I am far too liberal in my editorial tolerances. There are comments posted that would likely be trashed if it were up to anyone else. And I apologize for that. I hope you will continue to participate in the dialogue here. We certainly don’t want anyone to feel disheartened by the content on our site. Your voice and your opinions are very important to us. And we’re doing our best to assure that all voices have a place in this forum.

        That being said, I am weary of so much God talk here. And I am weary of the screed against Christians. Can anyone imagine how much worse our fate might be in Saudi Arabia, or Yemen, or Iran? Our heads would have been cut off long before now. There are a great many people who are motivated to act for the good of others by their beliefs in fairy tales. I don’t much want to see those people eradicated from the face of the planet. Because I am much more fearful of people who are motivated by their own selfish interests. For those, it’s merely a matter of degrees. And if I happen to fall out of favor with them, we have no common language of motivation to share. They are “them” and I am “the other.” That is, after all, how we’ve all ended up in our predicament.

        • #19056 Reply
          Avatar
          Chris

          I wouldn’t assign blame for anything posted on the site, or allowed to be posted on the site. One thing I love about this country is the wisdom our forefathers had when constructing the Constitution and our Bill of Rights. There is a reason that free speech is part of the very first amendment. It is fundamentally essential to the sharing of new ideas and new ways of thinking. Without it we don’t stand a chance. Don’t apologize for allowing everyone to express themselves freely.

          I just fear that the posts of some folks could be used against the movement. People will use any excuse to keep an undesirable class of people (us) oppressed. They can look at posts that deny any harm was done, or blaming a victim, and say to the world, “Look at the sex offenders. They have no remorse! They don’t believe they hurt anyone, and that means that they are likely to do it again!” And that would be true. Offenders who deny their guilt are more likely to slip back into an offense cycle. All it takes is the right trigger.

          There are innocent people on the registry. There are people whose “crime” was not worthy of the punishment they are having to endure. I get that. Those are generally not the ones I am talking about. In fact, they should be the face of sex offender registry reform. It is their stories that show how punitive registration is. That being said, I think that that group of people is a small percentage of us and we do them, our victims, and ourselves a disservice by failing to acknowledge the severity of our bad decisions.

    • #19337 Reply
      Avatar
      kelly

      My case is very similar to this. I had a minor lie to me about her age, which resulted in a 3 year prison sentence. I was repeatedly to all the proof that I had that she told me she was 18 could not be used because you are not aloud to incriminate a minor. My life is destroyed over it. They need to change that you can prove that a minor lied to you about their in the court system. I do not see this any different as someone that has a STD and knows and sleeps with you, and you get contract the disease. Both scenarios do not give a person the choice to say no. Yes, it is a dumb ass decision to sleep with a random stranger that has a lot of risk, but should someone lying to you about their should not put a person on the sex offender registry for life. I am college educated and a veteran with 0 prior criminal history. I can not find a job and my are in the late 70s. I am sure a lot of use are in the same situation living with our parents and wondering what the hell we are going to do to not be homeless when they go. This whole thing needs to change and change fast. The whole thing makes me feel like serving my country in the army was a waste. What I know today with how US congress, state congress and city councils are out blatantly saying FU to the constitution to keep on punishing after you served your time. I would have not served.

    • #55364 Reply
      Avatar
      Suzanne

      Didn’t read every comment, but those I did read said nothing about this judge, Judge Vincent J. Chiarello, who was more than complicit and almost 100% responsible for the 2006 murder of a 14 year old girl by her father, within one year after Chiarello awarded him sole custody. The father had a long criminal record, was making and selling drugs, and drugging his daughter then committing sexually obscene acts upon her while she was unconscious, filming all the acts, along with same upon another 8 year old girl and a 16 year old girl. He should have been removed from the bench and prosecuted for his part in her torture and death, as the father, as stated, had a long criminal record, including domestic violence, felony crimes, and the mother begged and pleaded with the judge to protect her children. This sort of custody switch to fathers who are abusive, and/or not involved, and/or just want to avoid paying child support is epidemic here in the US and moving across the globe.

      We need good decent men to stand up for women and children’s rights in the family court systems of our nation. I’m think Chiarello was perhaps thinking twice about his plea deal, perhaps a bit of conscience, remorse, guilt, hopefully!!! But probably just all about the money 🙁

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