Man Sentenced for Rape of Homeless Woman

Update by the Santa Barbara Police Department
2:30 p.m., September 14, 2017

On November 6, 2015, Officers from the Santa Barbara Police Department were dispatched to investigate a sexual assault in which the victim was a vulnerable, transient female.  SBPD Officer B. Ahrens was assigned to investigate the crime.  Officer Ahrens was able to determine the circumstances surrounding the crime, and he was able to identify the suspect as known felon, Ronald Larry Ledesma, age 56 of Santa Barbara.  Ledesma was known to Law Enforcement and had been residing in an inoperative Recreational Vehicle within the City of Santa Barbara. 

Officer Ahrens arranged for the proper medical and support personnel to respond and assist with the victim, and continued to interview witnesses.  Several witnesses gave corroborating information about the incident which supported the victim’s statements.  One witness stated they had seen the suspect, Ledesma forcefully pull the victim by the arm to his RV.  Detectives obtained search and arrest warrants for Ledesma and subsequently arrested him inside his RV. 

The case went to jury trial in August of 2017.  On September 13, 2017, after roughly five weeks of testimony, Ledesma was found guilty by a jury of the following charges:

  • 261(a)(3) PC, rape by intoxication
  • 242 PC, battery
  • 289 PC, digital penetration
  • Prison prior: 11350(a) H&S (1 year enhancement),
  • Prison priors: 211 PC (strike 1), and 211 PC (strike 2). 

The Santa Barbara Police Department wants to thank all those involved who helped to secure this significant conviction. 

Source: District Attorney of Santa Barbara
10:00 a.m., September 14, 2017

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that 59-year-old Ronald Larry Ledesma, now faces a prison sentence of 63 years to life as a result of a Santa Barbara jury returning multiple guilty verdicts Wednesday afternoon in a sexual assault case.  

Specifically, the jury found Defendant Ledesma guilty of rape of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration of an intoxicated person, and two counts of battery. The jury also returned true findings on special allegations that the defendant was previously convicted of two robberies and previously served several terms in prison.

On November 5, 2015, the defendant took Jane Doe, a severely intoxicated homeless woman, from outside of a shelter, back to his RV, where he sexually assaulted her. 

The next morning Jane Doe went to Cottage Hospital to seek treatment. Once there, she reported the rape to officers of the Santa Barbara Police Department.

District Attorney Dudley stated, “Based upon the courage of Jane Doe, and the thorough investigation by officers from the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Department of Justice Crime Laboratories, and multiple employees of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, led by Deputy District Attorney, Jennifer Karapetian, the defendant was arrested, tried, and brought to justice. Thus, culminating his inability to ever harm another vulnerable victim again.”

Prosecuting attorney Jennifer Karapetian commended the jury for their hard work and dedication to the case, and further stated, “This verdict demonstrates that our laws protect all victims equally, despite their socioeconomic backgrounds, wealth, or class.”

The Defendant will be sentenced by the Honorable Judge Michael Carrozzo on October 2 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 12 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court. 

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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