SLO County prosecutors dropped a nearly yearlong criminal case against a registered sex offender the day it was scheduled to go to trial.
The case against Fabian Robert Grijalvamansera, 28, was dismissed at the request of the SLO County District Attorney's Office on July 25, according to court records. Grijalvamansera was facing felony charges after he was accused of accosting and behaving inappropriately toward two children on a street near his home in Templeton in August 2015.
Grijalvamansera's defense attorney, Raymond Allen, said the case was dropped because the accusations were false and claimed that the DA's office was too quick to file charges against his client due to his status as a sex offender. "Obviously the DA needs to be protective of children," Allen said. "But they knew there was no crime here, or at least they should have known. There was just no evidence."
According to court documents, two children who lived near Grijalvamansera said he approached them while they were walking on the street in the neighborhood. The children, 10 and 13 years old, said Grijalvamansera acted inappropriately, grabbing at them and making them uncomfortable. Grijalvamansera was arrested and charged with two felony counts of annoying or molesting a child. Because he was previously convicted on a felony charge of lewd acts with a child in 2012, Grijalvamansera also faced enhanced charges, according to a criminal complaint.
But a trial brief filed by Allen stated that the evidence against Grijalvamansera didn't hold up to scrutiny. The two children offered conflicting stories to police and prosecutors, and an ankle-monitoring device showed that Grijalvamansera was never outside the home on the date the two children initially said the incident occurred. The brief also stated that the children were told that Grijalvamansera was a registered sex offender, which led to a distorted interpretation of what actually happened.
"But for the creation of unnecessary alarm, the children would have thought nothing of the encounter with the defendant," Allen wrote.
While the charges against his client have been dismissed, Allen said the negative impact of the case on Grijalvamansera was severe. Because of the new allegation against him, Grijalvamansera spent six months in jail on a parole violation. Allen also said one of Grijalvamansera's family members passed away while he was in jail.
"A year later they finally did the right thing, but in the meantime my client went to jail," Allen said. "It completely turned his life upside down."
Allen also indicated that law enforcement officials and the DA's Office wouldn't have filed the charges based on shaky evidence if Grijalvamansera hadn't been registered under that state's sex offender laws.
"They are a pariah class," he said. "Before [law enforcement] ever knocked on his door, they already had in their mind who was going to be the bad guy and who was going to be the good guy."
The SLO County District Attorney's Office indicated it dropped charges after determining it would be unable to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.