News


Swimmer charged in sexual assault gets probation in plea deal

Deal keeps victim from having to testify

A 21-year-old graduate of San Ramon Valley High School and former swimmer at UC Davis has been convicted of a felony in connection with an attack on a young woman in her dorm room last year.

Pierce Hunter accepted a plea deal that spared the victim from having to testify and avoided a jury trial. Hunter pleaded no contest - admitting that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict him but not admitting guilt - to a single felony count of dissuading a witness after threatening the victim following the attack.

As part of the plea deal, Hunter was ordered to serve 150 days in the county jail; a charge of sexual battery will remain on hold for the five years Hunter will be on probation following his stay in jail. During his probation, he will have to register as sex offender, receive sex offender counseling and attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous during his probation. The sexual battery charge will be dismissed if Hunter successfully completes probation.

Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Clint Parish told the court the attack took place in January 2010.

"Hunter entered the dorm room of the victim. According to the victim, after a short discussion, Hunter took off most of his clothes and began to force himself on her," Parish told the judge. "During the struggle, Hunter took the victim's pants off of her as well as her underwear. Because of the vast difference in size between Hunter and the victim, he was able to keep her pinned down while he continued to assault her."

The victim, who lives in the San Ramon Valley, also attended UC Davis at the time and was a member of the swim team there. At his sentencing hearing earlier this month, her mother read a prepared statement written by the victim.

"I have asked for this to be read on my behalf by my mother because I do not want to see or speak to Pierce Hunter ever again," the woman's statement read. "Pierce Hunter set out to deliberately hurt me when he came to my dorm room uninvited and tried to rape me."

The woman said her roommate came to her rescue.

"After my roommate helped me fight off Pierce Hunter, he then threatened me, my roommate and later my sister's safety to keep me from talking about it," the woman's letter to the court continued. "It took me a while to have the courage to come forward about the attack which I was able to do after I learned about Pierce Hunter's violent behavior towards other swim team members and a threat was made against my sister's and my life. In one of the other attacks Pierce Hunter sexually assaulted another female swimmer in her dorm room in a most brutal and disgusting fashion.

"Unfortunately, she did not have a roommate to save her or be a witness for her. Pierce Hunter also assaulted a male swimmer and was so violent that he had to be Tasered by the Davis police before he was taken into custody."

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig confirmed that following the young woman's report of the attack, two other women came forward with similar stories.

The young woman attacked by Hunter also said in her statement that his family tried to cover up the incident and enlisted the help of his swim coach as well.

"This is a problem because it helped hide his true nature from innocent people. Pierce Hunter's family members have been enablers of his anti-social behavior and they have enlisted others in the swimming community to help trivialize his violent behavior," the woman's statement read.

Hunter, who graduated in 2008 from San Ramon Valley High School and was a swimmer there, has since moved back to the area and has become a member of the Diablo Valley College swim team, where he competed in the Men's 100-yard freestyle and the 800-yard freestyle relay.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff W. Reisig called the plea deal "an excellent outcome for the victim, the prosecution and citizens of Yolo County."

"The defendant now has a felony strike on his record and must register as a sex offender for a minimum of 5 years while on probation," Reisig said. "He will undergo sex offender counseling after serving his jail term. His probation officer will keep tabs on him to prevent him from re-offending."

The district attorney also acknowledged it can be difficult to get a conviction in cases like this.

"Jury trials in rape cases often result in the victim being put on trial and being re-traumatized. Or, it's not uncommon to see defendants in these cases go unpunished leaving the victim in both a physical and emotional mess," he said. "We avoided all of this and justice was served."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jun 26, 2011 at 8:14 am

Sure Robbie, whatever you say.
If the victim's statement is correct, the D.A. should have gone after the family members, and possibly the coach, for conspiracy.
What the #&@& is Diablo College thinking letting this guy on their swim team? Coaches have such single-minded obsession that they cannot see anything else.
[portion removed] An excellent outcome would have been for Pierce to spend at least the whole five years behind bars.
Hopefully the next person he assaults will put a permanent end to his behavior.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sara
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jun 26, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Very disheartend to learn that he is also a member of Walnut Creek Aquabears. Obviously by his own admission he needs help. However, swim coaches are not in the position to provide that help and are putting our children(both boys and girls)at risk.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2011 at 6:55 am

Robbie-- Your comments just stand as yet another instance of blaming the victim(s) for very unfortunate and disturbing acts of violence committed against them. Pierce is not the one that needs to be protected.

Shameful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Danville
on Jun 27, 2011 at 8:37 am

Readers:

To sum it up from the article, this sexual batterer:
1.Is serving 150 days in jail (about 5 mos.).
2. While on probation following jail, will continue to have a sexual battery charge held against him for five years following his release from jail.
3. Will be a REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER in our community during his time of probation.
4. Will receive SEX OFFENDER COUNSELING.
5. Apparently he also has very serious substance abuse issues due to his being required to attend AA meetings.

So, why is this person being rewarded with being allowed to do what is obviously his favorite thing - swimming on a team (close to where young woman are changing in a locker room)?

I say each and every person call the Diablo Valley Swim Team and DVS College President NOW, TODAY or as soon as you can, to complain and let them know that we do not think this SEX OFFENDER should be rewarded by being on a swim team and being close to females' changing rooms again.

Here is the email and phone number I found to call the swim coach: Rick Millington, Head Coach DVC Men's and Women's Swimming and Diving, rmillington@dvc.edu, 925-685-1230, ext. 2498 and the Office of the President of DVC is Peter Garcia, pgarcia@dvc.edu, 925-685-1230, ext.2201.

This guy should not have a normal life for a while. I am sure his victims are not living a normal life with the trauma they endured. He needs to complete his SEX OFFENDER programs FIRST before being allowed back into regular community activities.

Beth


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 27, 2011 at 10:26 am

Great way to end the comment section, Beth. Okay everyone, do as Beth suggested and get the low life away from his favorite pass time.

I would love him or any other jock to try and abuse me...it would be goodby baby.

Thanks, Julia from Alamo


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Looks like our wishes have come true. His picture is taped up at DVC all over campus exposing him for what he is. He is well known in Pleasanton as a sexual predator.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Diablo
on Jun 27, 2011 at 11:12 pm

There's always more to the story. All we got was the victim's statement. No contest is not an admission of guilt; it's an indication that he does not expect he could win a trial. And frankly, in today's society, if a woman decides you raped her, you have no hope, legally. And in the alcohol-fueled environment of college, where does one draw the line of a drunken hookup with regrets vs rape?

Where was the second victim for the legal proceedings? Apparently she did not think the situation important enough to merit a place in the lawsuit or to submit a statement.

Lastly, have any of you even hear of innocent until proven guilty? He was in the middle of a legal proceeding and trying to move on with his life. He already got kicked out of UC Davis, losing quite an opportunity there. What if it had gone to trial and he turned up innocent? That would be over a year of the worst possible ostracism, completely undeserved. You people are so quick to morally condemn anyone who comes within 10 yards of a label of "sex offender". Do you realize how broad that term is? A relationship that is perfectly legal in any of 38 other states can make a man a sex offender. And this is lumped in with true criminals, and pedophiles.

Maybe you all need to dull down your rage and consider the possibility that a troubled young man just had the world stack up against him, took the only logical course of action, and just wants to move on. Hate him silently if you want, but don't rally the rest of the community to outwardly shun him in every possible way.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jane
a resident of Danville
on Jun 28, 2011 at 6:10 am

Steve,

The article mentions "enablers" trying to "trivialize his violent behavior" - You sound a lot like one of them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 28, 2011 at 10:53 am

Jane, I believe you are correct. Steve sounds like that troubled young man he mentions in his last paragraph. I think Steve should be watched.

Julia from Alamo


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Diablo
on Jun 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Jane, the VICTIM said that, not the "article". I could say that Julia is trivializing your accusatory nature, but that doesn't make it fact. That's just my opinion.

I'm actually doing fine, Julia, but I'm quite worried about what will happen to Pierce. Sounds like you're trying to make a self-fulfilling prophecy for him... kick him out of the community, I'm sure that will make him less violent and angry and likely to be in trouble in the future. Let him take care of the stipulated conditions and move on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Sorry Steve-O, but I'll have to disagree with pretty much every single point you've tried to make. This guy is clearly exhibiting sociopathic behavior, and apparently has been for a while. At the ripe age of 21, he is unlikely to be "cured" of his nature, so I would say that indeed the prophecy has already been fulfilled. He is not an eight year old boy with drug-addict parents. A youngster who might have hope of being adopted into a better situation. He is an adult, for better or worse. Count me as one who feels he would be best removed from society. There are many people in prison for ridiculous minor offenses. I'm sure one of those beds could be freed up for Mr. Hunter, for a whole lot longer than five months.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Louise
a resident of Danville
on Jun 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thanks Steve for your voice of reason- I get really frustrated and embarrassed by commenters who read an article and then think they know everything. And that their "opinions" are fact. NONE of us know whether the allegations about this young man came about from too much alcohol- or sociopathic behavior –-Is everyone who does bad things when they are drunk, sociopaths?. Web Link It's ridiculous for casual readers to even speculate. Ah, but of course, perhaps in doing so they are displaying dangerous signs of "know it all" Personality Disorder Web Link .

As to reality, Derek co you really believe that it best for us to "remove" all perpetrators of this kind from society? Beth, Do you really think getting the community all riled up over this is good for ANYONE, and solves any REAL issues? Are you safer by having him kicked off the swim team? Isn't it better on first offense, to figure out if there is a much simpler solution to the behavior (ie- cure the alcohol addiction) before assuming that removing them from society is the answer? Oh, but are you saying that the alcohol addiction is the clear sociopathic behavior he's been exhibiting?

I prefer the logical approach of Steve, to the other emotional responses- of Julia and Derek. But hey,I hope they keep on posting their "know it all" opinions- thankfully the more they say, the more ridiculous they sound!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curious...
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 30, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Is the judge in this case a democrat or republican?
Reason for my curiosity is that democrat judges, in general, tend to be much more lenient on sex offenders. In general, democrat judges tend to protect the perpetrator over the victim much more vigorously.

Yes, I know there are exceptions. But in general the above is true. You hear case after case in the media about judges (who we later learn are democrats) who protect the perp.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Three strikes
a resident of another community
on Jun 30, 2011 at 5:34 pm

@Louise:

Read the story again. Hunter committed three separate attacks on women. Drunk or no, that's sociopathic behavior. He refused to take responsibility for the single count that could be proven in court (thanks to the victim's roommate), hence the "no contest" plea.

He knew he faced prison time, but still moved back here and joined two swim teams, one at DVC and another in Walnut Creek, where he could be in contact with the same type he's victimized before.

Hunter is lucky his parents paid for a really good attorney. I wonder what these posts would be saying had he been a person of color.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by danville resident
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jul 7, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Thank you Danville Express for being responsible enough to follow up on the original story with the factual conclusion and not leaving it to public speculation and conjecture. My student was acquainted with Pierce and some of the female members of the SRVHS swim team and it is good that some of the facts have been made clear.


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