Justice is finally being served after an ex Santa Ana City Councilman was sentenced to a year in jail for years of inappropriate sexual behavior. Sexual harassment in the workplace is never acceptable, and it seems as though Carlos Bustamante had been engaging in inappropriate office behavior for over eight years. Bustamante created a plea deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to just one year in jail, along with five years of probation, and his name on the sex offender registry for his lifetime. Some wonder if the sentence wasn’t harsh enough because he pled guilty to multiple sex-related charges.
Bustamante’s case in court
Bustamante was arrested back in July of 2012 when seven of his female subordinates accused him of trying to engage in unwanted sexual activities. He would actually lure women into his office to kiss, hug, and touch them in an inappropriate manner. After his arrest, Bustamante was looking at 17 felony sex charges, which were later dismissed due to lack of evidence. He did plead guilty to three counts of attempted sexual battery, stalking and grand theft. These charges were all considered felonies, while attempted sexual battery, assault, and false imprisonment were all misdemeanor charges, to which he also pled guilty.
Women assaulted happy with outcome
Although only a year of imprisonment seems like a short time after all the sexual charges Bustamante faced, all of the women who were in court during the guilty plea were satisfied with the outcome. Having his name on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life will really have an effect once he gets out of prison. Victims were not quick to come forward with accusations because Bustamante held such a high position in the city of Santa Ana. Letters were read in the courtroom, which were written by two of the sexual abuse victims. One claimed that she was terrified at work when Bustamante was around. The excitement of a new job turned to horror and everyday was a struggle. All the victim could think about at home was what might happen at work the next day. Another victim claimed she always knew sexual harassment could happen in the workplace, but she never imagined it would happen to her. The worst part was in knowing that she couldn’t tell anyone. This is something that the victims will have to struggle with for the rest of their lives. It might be hard to trust other male co-workers or bosses, even if they give no reason for being untrustworthy.
Bustamante will serve out his one year sentence, and follow up his jail time with a five year probationary period. If he decides to violate his probation terms, then he could face an additional four years in prison. On the other hand, if he is successful during his five year probationary period, his felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors on his public record.
Always remember that if you feel uncomfortable in a situation at work, make somebody else aware, such as an HR representative. Had these women not come forward, who knows how many others would have been affected because of Bustamante’s actions?