Joe Gomez

CRIMINAL COURTS
After long delays, sexual battery case looms next week
SHEA JOHNSON
STAFF WRITER
Posted Aug. 25, 2014 @ 4:42 pm
Updated Aug 25, 2014 at 4:58 PM

Delayed for years by attorney changes, ongoing investigation and scheduling conflicts, the misdemeanor sexual battery trial for former Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez is expected to finally get underway next week, the case’s prosecutor said Monday.

Jury selection is planned for Sept. 3, paving the way for opening arguments to potentially be heard Sept. 4, Deputy District Attorney David Foy said.

“Given the nature of the case, and the fact that the defendant was a former elected official, it might take a full day to pick a jury,” Foy wrote to the Daily Press. “So I do not think we would start with actual evidence (until) Thursday, Sept. 4.”

Gomez is accused of inappropriately touching an unidentified woman in December 2009, a little more than a year after he was elected to office. He pleaded not guilty in May 2010, court records show.

There have been 29 subsequent hearings to set a start date for trial, and continuances have been granted each time, according to court records.

Some delays can be attributed to Gomez obtaining new legal counsel in 2011 and Foy taking the case over from the initial prosecutor in November 2012. But all the while, there have been requests from both sides for more time to accommodate ongoing investigation and conflicts in scheduling.

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