General Crime

* Vegetable Farmer Convicted of Raping Female Field Worker in Santa Rosa

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A Santa Rosa man faces 24 years in prison when he is sentenced next month for raping a pregnant woman who worked for him as a field worker, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. Jose Luis Perales-Hernandez, 58, was convicted by a Sonoma County jury Wednesday of rape, forcible oral copulation and forced sexual penetration, Ravitch said.

He sexually assaulted the pregnant woman on July 18 in a remote field in Sebastopol where he grew vegetables, Ravitch said.  The six month’s pregnant woman worked as a field worker for Perales-Hernandez for nearly four months when the assaults occurred, Ravitch said.  Perales-Hernandez brought the woman to the field under the pretense of needing fertilizer, Ravitch said. He grabbed the woman in a room but she broke free and ran, Ravitch said.

Perales-Hernandez sexually assaulted the woman when she fell in the field in the dark, Ravitch said. The woman tried to escape again by hiding in tall grass but Perales-Hernandez found her and sexually assaulted her again, Ravitch said.  Perales-Hernandez ordered the woman in her truck, threatened her and her family if she reported the rape and assaulted her again, Ravitch said.  The victim jumped from the moving truck and called for help at a nearby residence, Ravitch said.

The woman was treated at a hospital and released and has given birth to her child, Ravitch said. Ravitch said Perales-Hernandez “preyed upon the pregnant woman’s vulnerable position as his employee field worker to carry out these violent crimes.” Perales-Hernandez will be sentenced by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Gary Medvigy on April 26.

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