CRESCENT CITY, Calif. - A man was sentenced on Wednesday, May 17 to the low term of three years, with all but 240 days suspended in favor of a grant of probation for rape of an intoxicated person, according to the Del Norte District Attorney’s Office. This sentencing is a decision that Del Norte District Attorney, Dale P. Trigg said he "could not disagree more with."
The DA said the man, 20-year-old Nolan Bruder, pleaded guilty earlier this month to the charge that he gave his 16-year-old sister high potency marijuana also known as “dabs” to smoke after she repeatedly resisted his sexual advances, until she reached the point of no longer recognizing him as her brother.
According to Trigg, Judge Follett said he believed the stigma of this conviction along with mandatory sex offender registration requirements would sufficiently deter Bruder and others in the community.
But Trigg was in disagreement.
“I could not disagree more,” Trigg said. “The message that this sends to our community is that sexual predators who get their juvenile siblings stoned enough can have sex with them without any meaningful consequence. That is not the message I want to send to our community,”
The DA said Judge Follett noted that the victim in this case took her own clothes off and was not unconscious. He also questioned whether there was sufficient evidence for a jury to convict Bruder, even with a video-taped confession Burder had given, admitting to the crime.
However, at the sentencing hearing, Deputy District Attorney Annamarie Padilla argued that Judge Follett should follow the Probation Department’s recommendation to send Bruder to state prison for six years, according to the DA.
The DA said that in the wake of the case involving Stanford swimmer Brock Turner, the legislature changed the law to make such crimes ineligible for probation. Turner was a Stanford University athlete who spent three months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
The DA’s office said Bruder benefited from the fact that the crimes pre-dated the change in the law, allowing Judge Follett to grant him probation.
But Trigg said Bruder’s crime is worse than Turner’s.
“In a lot of ways, this case is more egregious than Brock Turner,” Trigg said. “This defendant took advantage of a position of trust as this victim’s big brother. He knew she didn’t want to have sex with him. She told him that repeatedly. So he got her stoned on dabs he gave her until she didn’t even recognize him in order get what he wanted.”