Criminal charges of domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon may have been dropped against former Arroyo Grande councilman Ed Arnold, but the victim in his burglary case has filed a civil lawsuit, alleging he caused her physical injury and emotional distress.
The victim filed suit Aug. 12 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. She’s seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from Arnold, but indicated the figure will be in excess of $25,000.
On June 8, Arnold, 46, pleaded no contest to one charge of first-degree burglary, as well as possession of child pornography. Investigators say they found pictures of nude underage girls on his personal computer, as well as a video allegedly taken by Arnold of an underage Spanish foreign exchange student showering. The student was staying at his home at the time.
Arnold had originally pleaded not guilty. Under a plea deal cut with prosecutors, charges of assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, possession of an illegal weapon, threatening bodily harm, and videotaping a minor for pornographic purposes were all dropped.
According to the victim’s lawsuit filed by Arroyo Grande-based attorney David Richards, the victim walked into her bedroom and was confronted by a trespassing Arnold in the late hours of Dec. 15, 2009. Arnold allegedly struck her repeatedly on the head and face with a club. She suffered cuts and abrasions to her face, scalp, and elbow.
The suit alleges that Arnold’s act was premeditated, based on the claim that he was found wearing all black clothing, carrying a black duffel bag containing zip ties, and had a club wrapped in black duct tape.
Arnold was sentenced July 12 to 270 days in jail and three years of probation. He is required to attend a batterer intervention program and register as a sex offender with the state.
After his sentencing, Arnold’s attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu said Arnold felt “terrible about what he’s done.”
“This is the closest thing to a Greek tragedy I’ve had in my career,” Funke-Bilu said.
Arnold had not filed a response to the lawsuit as of press time. A case management hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 15—two years from the date of the burglary.
He is scheduled to report to SLO County Jail to begin his sentence Sept. 19.