Palm Desert - A Palm Desert man who sexually assaulted two women at College of the Desert was sentenced Thursday to two years in custody but was released on parole because of credits for time served.
Jesse Timothy Lara, 28, pleaded guilty on Aug. 13 to a pair of misdemeanor sexual battery counts for the September 2013 assaults, and was sentenced today to a year in jail for those crimes. He also pleaded guilty in August 2012 to a felony count of attempted sexual battery in a case in another part of the county, and was sentenced to three years probation. He was sentenced today to a year in prison for violating that probation, according to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
Lara -- who was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail -- was released on parole today because of his credits for time already served, according to the D.A.'s office. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Charles Stafford told Lara he'd have to register as a sex offender.
``Hopefully parole will have some effect on you,'' Stafford told Lara at sentencing. ``You need to modify your behavior ... or you'll go to state prison for a long time.''
``Yes, your honor,'' Lara said.
Deputy District Attorney Jenna Barsamian read statements in court from the two victims. One victim wrote that she has lived differently since the attack -- she has a hard time sleeping, and is always ``looking over my shoulder.''
``I never would have expected such a frightening incident to happen to me entering my first year of college,'' she wrote.
The other victim wrote that Lara hurt her ``mentally and emotionally.''
``That night (it happened), I was sobbing and thought a man I'd never seen saw me as an object, and that disgusts me,'' she wrote.
She wears a whistle, and has someone drop her off close to her classes.
``I want him somewhere he can't hurt anyone else,'' she wrote.
Riverside County sheriff's Deputy Julio Oseguera said authorities went to COD on Sept. 17, 2013, to speak with the victims. Both were approached by Lara, a student at the time -- one on Sept. 16 and the other on Sept. 12 -- on the campus.
A COD statement issued at the time said the assaults involved ``unwanted touching'' and that the college was ``moving forward to have the student expelled.''
When asked today if Lara was expelled and when, COD issued a statement saying the college ``is unable to confirm any information regarding this case. All of our student's privacy rights continue to be protected by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)."