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Menlo Park man who allegedly sexually assaulted teen at city park on trial

 

A Menlo Park man accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman in a bathroom at Kelly Park seven years ago is being tried in San Mateo County Superior Court.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, 26, has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of forced oral copulation with a victim who was so intoxicated she could not consent.

On Sept. 12, the case went before Judge Jeffrey R. Finigan in the South San Francisco Courthouse, where the first day of trial was completed. The trial resumed Sept. 13 at 11 a.m. with jury selection, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office. It was put on hold Sept. 14 because the judge was not available but is expected to resume Monday, according to the district attorney's office.

According to prosecutors, just after midnight on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011, the victim was intoxicated at Kelly Park with her friends. When she went to use the restroom at the park, she was sexually assaulted, prosecutors said.

According to a statement from the Menlo Park Police Department, she did not know the suspect, who allegedly forced her to "orally copulate him while she was intoxicated and without her consent."

During the incident, the victim lost consciousness, police said.

When she awoke, she flagged down a passerby who escorted her to a nearby clinic in Belle Haven, where she was examined and interviewed, according to prosecutors.

Sperm samples collected from her shirt were uploaded into the FBI's Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS, which stores DNA profiles at the local, state and national levels.

The defendant's DNA remained in the database and was re-entered into the system by law enforcement in February 2015, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Another entry into the system means he was arrested or convicted for something else, though information on the nature of that alleged crime was not immediately available, Wagstaffe said.

Through the DNA match system the suspect was identified as Jimenez, who was 19 at the time of the alleged assault. In August 2017, he pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of oral copulation with a victim who was so intoxicated she could not consent, Wagstaffe said. Jimenez faces up to eight years in state prison. He remains out of custody on $100,000 bail bond.

Menlo Park Police Chief Dave Bertini said he learned about the case shortly before he joined the Menlo Park Police Department in 2011. "It's not a case of, this guy was waiting in the bushes and threw her in the bathroom," Bertini said. "The victim was there with a group of friends."

Since the alleged assault, there has been a multimillion-dollar renovation project at Kelly Park. Now, there is a security camera on the premises and automatic locks on the bathroom doors, Bertini said.

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