California Judges Disagree If One Kiss Is A Lewd Sex Act Or Innocent Affection

cesarromeromug.jpg
Romero: Geez, it was just a peck and I get prison?
Is it lewd, criminal conduct for a 25-year-old man to kiss a 12-year-old girl on the lips?

In the case of Southern California church piano player Cesar Augusto Romero, Orange County law enforcement officers believed the answer is yes.

In fact, prosecutors charged Romero with committing lewd acts on four minor girls in Los Angeles and Orange counties from 2007 to 2009.

A 2011 OC jury wasn't convinced about three of the charges, but found the defendant guilty of a felony for kissing the 12-year-old girl and Superior Court Judge Steven D. Bromberg sentenced Romero, who'd admitted to cops he dreamed of having a dating relationship with the girl when she becomes an adult, to prison.

But late last month, the California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana determined that the conviction was a miscarriage of justice.

According to the majority of a three-justice panel comprised of William F. Rylaarsdam and David A. Thompson, prosecutors presented insufficient evidence the kiss was committed with lewd or lascivious intent.

"What Romero did was place a brief kiss on the closed mouth of a 12-year-old girl," Rylaarsdam wrote in a 15-page opinion. "There is no evidence suggesting he attempted to open her mouth, or use his tongue, or that the kiss was of any significant duration. Likewise, there is no evidence Romero made any attempt to touch or caress Jane Doe 3 (or himself) in any way when he kissed her, and no evidence he became aroused either during or after the kiss. Put simply, there is no evidence the kiss consisted of anything more than the briefest peck, such as might be exchanged by close friends or family members as an expression of non-sexual affection."

Rylaarsdam and Thompson dismissed the felony lewd conduct conviction, replaced it with a misdemeanor conviction of battery and ordered Bromberg to resentence the defendant, who has been in prison since Nov. 2011, consistent with their ruling.

Justice Raymond J. Ikola, the third member of the appellate panel, issued a dissent opinion.

According to Ikola, the jury's verdict for the felony conviction was sufficient based on "circumstantial evidence" Romero acted to obtain sexual gratification.

"I am not prepared to second-guess the jury's conclusion," he declared. "Another adult who had witnessed Romero's interactions with Jane Doe 3 at church functions described the interactions as romantic, because of how Romero looked at [the girl]. And then Romero kissed the 12-year-old Jane Doe 3 on the mouth--not on the cheek, not on the top of her head, not on her hand--but on her mouth."

A kiss on the mouth is consistent with lewd intent, he concluded.

Ikola also disputed his colleagues' authority to convict Romero of a lesser, uncharged battery count. In his view, the panel should have either upheld the felony conviction or reversed it.

Upshot: Romero, now 31, will be released from custody before finishing his six-year prison sentence inside California's Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.

Let's pray he can focus his affections on adult women in the future.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.

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48 comments
woodside333
woodside333

SICK!!

This is NOT the last time that we will hear from Romero EVIL PROCLIVITIES.

Jennifer LoveMarque
Jennifer LoveMarque

I agree with u OC weekly, I don't always do, but I do this time. He's a pig! There's 7women to each man (supposedly) and he's doing that shit with a pre-teen, its disgusting and immoral!

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

Helen: Related to the pervert, or something?

Rebekah Marie
Rebekah Marie

Actually I find that the Register is rather lacking in journalisitc excellence. I have tried to subscribe but cannot get past the substandard writing.

Helen Pearl Manderson
Helen Pearl Manderson

Oc register has a lot of readers...I wonder why? OH WAIT! it's because they have superior journalists who actually provide us with good news. Oc weekly is cheap trash that will never flourish.

Steven Lee Swab
Steven Lee Swab

once he gets inside theo, main, or the farm. he will be handled, Blue band or not. with a jacket like that .. for sure

Rebekah Marie
Rebekah Marie

Alejandro.....that's the kind of thinking that will get you some time in jail and a record. Under tbe age of consent. .so simple yet seemingly so difficult for some to comprehend. Pathetic.

Rebekah Marie
Rebekah Marie

Mike...no excuses..when you say such idiocy you dengrate men. It is against the law to have such contact with a minor because they are below the age of consent. His behavior was grooming behavior. Any one who excuses it is just creepy.

Rosalind Wood Thebaud
Rosalind Wood Thebaud

Definitely a pedophile in the making. He should have no contact with children.

Mike MacDuffee
Mike MacDuffee

If the girl was willing to kiss him back or sleep with him he would be all for it, guaranteed. As a male this is a drive embedded into the male brain. Dating, kissing, or anything outside of sex is not illegal with minors, but due to the nature of a man it's pretty obvious that the guy has issues which should be treated. I'm not sure if prison is the right treatment. Also, kids aren't usually coerced into these situations unless they have past issues or traumas, they need some help as well.

OC Weekly
OC Weekly

Raffi: Yeah, we don't like pedophiles or pedophile apologists, you know?

Rebekah Marie
Rebekah Marie

A 12 year old is below the age of consent...end of discussion..it's a crime.

Rebekah Marie
Rebekah Marie

a 12 year old is below the age of consent..it's a crime. No middle ground no complexity. Thats just an excuse to be a pedophile.

Mike Martinez
Mike Martinez

Yes it's lewd, he should be convicted as a sex offender.

Kathy Moreno U
Kathy Moreno U

I bet you they tapped that ass of his in prison for that shhhhh!!!...Too bad he didn't realize that theres women his age to do that to!SMH

Ron Leighton
Ron Leighton

It is inappropriate, and ill-advised, but it is absolutely hysterical to call it 'lewd.'

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

 

The cop cars, ambulances and even the fire trucks that are going down the street are more of a noise nuisance then the people are. Oh and that damn HB police helecopter. 

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

 

and now the Mayor Jim Righeimer (Republinut) and the City Council of Costa Mesa wants to fine the citizens of Costa Mesa for being nuisances with a new nuisance ordinance (that passed last night 10/2/2013) towards noise, smoking and gathering (around sober living homes) but I'd heard the mayor is trying to expand on that when it's the mayor himself that is the nuisance because he's trying to act as if he's everyone elses dictator. $250.oo to $1000.00 for this ordinance when there are no jobs and no money in the city except that last week the city announced it has a $7 MILLION dollar surplus. But the mayor says the city is "mathematically bankrupt, there's not job creation going on here and he suing the police union but the unions are laughing at him. Where are we gonna get the money from Jim? "WE ARE BROKE AND HOMELESS", because of YOUR EDICTS AND POLICIES.

tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

"God is an invisable spirit that cannot be seen by human eyes". - Jesus Christ -

You are a human and you cannot see God because he's invisble. So who is this God person anyway? Does anyone have a picture of what this God looks like?

Anthony 'Ace' Leon
Anthony 'Ace' Leon

REAL FUCKING MORON WHY JUST KISS A PIG OR HIS AGE NOT 12 OLD THAT'S CALLED LEWD ACT UNDER AGE 14 HE PUT IN JAIL AND PUT CHILD SEX OFFERDER AND PLUS PUT GPS BRACKET TOO

Raffi Zaki
Raffi Zaki

it used to be normal for thousands of years, and didnt effect anyone in a negative way. now people implement victim complexes in people from pressure/self-prophesying socialization. yes people can be molested, and yes there is middle ground and its more complex than people like to admit. case by case process people, remember not every person/situation is the same

Whatever
Whatever

@LBCLuke  sweetliberty17761776 is a troll - just let her type whatever she wants about the "leftist". The two articles that I read so far  have a comment from her and they are exactly the same; the evils of the liberals. Just ignore the troll it will go away

ocgal
ocgal

 6 years in prison for a kiss? This country has completely lost its grip on reality.

Michael McCracken
Michael McCracken

"open her mouth, or use his tongue..." um eww? and in a church?

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

wow


so leftists now can determine the amount of "evil" by the mere "facts" of her mouth wasnt open etc etc


"no evidence he became aroused"


yet the guy himself spoke of marrying her when she gets older


looks like the leftys are saying there by the grace of obamammaaa goes I

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@OC Weekly Helen Pearl Manderson married into ill-gotten bigot money: Chuck Smith's grandson (Cameron Manderson), who lamely has his uneducated, airhead wife bark for him. Pathetic. Cowardly. They apparently don't have the courage to rant under the own names on the Smith obit so Pearl whines about OCW in a different, completely unrelated story. Ha! I love that they added to disgraceful OC history.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

@Helen Pearl Manderson It's great to see that you managed to briefly break away from your Justin Timberlake obsession to prove to the rest of us that you are a humorless moron who doesn't know the first thing about journalism.

rscottmoxley
rscottmoxley topcommenter

Helen Pearl Manderson: Your immaturity and fake religious piousness underscores the long, painful road you have to adulthood. Good luck arriving at peace and letting go of all your anger.

LBCLuke
LBCLuke

@sweetliberty17761776 "Leftists"? "Leftys"? Obama??  What on earth are you babbling about? 

This article concerns a judicial decision authored by one justice (Rylarsdaam) who was appointed to the bench by (Republican) Governor Deukmejian, and joined by a second justice (Thompson) who was appointed to the bench by (Republican) Governor Pete Wilson.  Partisan politics is completely irrelevant here, for goodness sake.

Jeez
Jeez

@sweetliberty17761776 Jesus. No wonder our government is in shut down--people like you simply think in terms of "my party is the only right in this!". How about instead of thinking in those terms, try to find representatives that HELP our society, regardless of party, yeah? 

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@LBCLuke @sweetliberty17761776 

1) a "conservative" in CA is (generally) a leftist by most standards

2) if a "conservative" used that type of thinking ( he was not aroused etc) than that is the behavior of leftist

so I do appreciate your post 


but


THINK!!


tongue_twister_for_t
tongue_twister_for_t topcommenter

No it is not because the Republinuts are attempting to mix politics and religion. It's against the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.  It's the right wing Christian nutjobs in this county that is being led by the billionaire Koch Bros' down in Texas that are funding the Tea Party. And Karl (Turd Blossom) Rove (George W. Bush called him that) is one of thier million dollar donators. They want you to live your lives by thier Christian edicts.

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

@Jeez 



I am not a Dem so what is your point 


as a libertarian I am against the socialism on the left and the right wingers who want to be as nanny state as the leftists


the shutdown is to stop another leftist failure


obamamacare is based on social security as the model



you know, the broken for the last 80 years broken model


not good enough for you


hmmm how about the post office


no matter that they are granted AN ILLEGAL MONOPOLY THEY STILL CANT CUT IT


why?


b/c again, the leftists with the help of the rinos get the big fat paychecks and worse pensions 




you sure you know which side you are on??

lets hear it

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