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DA: Accused rapist may have many more victims

- Pollacci remains free on bail but is confined at home

PINE CONE STAFF REPORT

Published: April 3, 2009

ACCUSED RAPIST Tom Pollacci will remain free on $300,000 bail, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Russell Scott decided at a hearing Thursday, but Pollacci must stay in his Pebble Beach home except when conferring with his attorneys or appearing in court. Deputy district attorney Cristina Johnson had asked the judge to up the bail to $1 million, citing public safety issues.

Since Pollacci’s arrest in early March hit the media, Johnson said, she had heard from new victims every day. “I received reports from eight different agencies, and calls from women who had been victims themselves or pointed to other women who had been victims,” she said.

Combing through reports and documents spanning from 1980 to 2004, she listed 10 separate incidents with 10 separate victims in her filing for the bail increase, and said she could have included more. She also said Pollacci used false names on several occasions, intending to deceive the women.

“You can see how his technique has evolved over the years, and he has perfected the crime of rape,” she said. “He’s gotten to be good at it,” and has no reason to stop.

Regarding the numerous letters of support friends and family wrote in defense of Pollacci, she pointed to one that came from a woman who said she had known Pollacci for two decades and not found him to be violent.

But years ago after Pollacci was convicted of another crime, “this same woman spoke to the probation department and said he was very aggressive with her — that he doesn’t take, ‘No,’ for an answer,” Johnson said. The woman reported he broke into her apartment three times and had forced himself on her sexually.

Defense attorney Andrew Liu pointed to the dozens of friends and family who filled half the courtroom to show their support for Pollacci. “Tom Pollacci means a lot of good things to a lot of good people,” he said.

And the incidents Johnson mentioned had no place in the courtroom, he argued. “Tom Pollacci has never been convicted of rape,” he said. “To call him a rapist is totally unfair.”

He said the $300,000 bail was already high, since the three felony counts of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious victim and rape of someone unable to give consent due to traumatic brain injury all stemmed from one alleged incident. Typically, he said, the bail would be $100,000.

He also questioned the urgency of the matter, considering Pollacci’s March 24 arraignment came three weeks after his arrest, and there were no efforts to move it or the bail hearing up in the calendar so they could be heard sooner.

“$300,000 is enough to secure his attendance in court and ensure that the public is safe,” he maintained.

Scott agreed but imposed several conditions of bail on Pollacci. He must remain at home, and may be subject to electronic monitoring, though he’ll be allowed to leave the Pebble Beach house of his parents to meet with his lawyers.

Liu said he would approach the court later regarding Pollacci’s possible employment, though it cannot be in a liquor store. He is also not allowed to use any fake names or false identification.

“If you represent to anyone that you’re someone you are not, then you’re subject to re-arrest immediately,” Scott told Pollacci.

A preliminary hearing is set for May 8.