The Long Beach City Prosecutor has asked the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to reconsider its decision not to file a felony case against a man accused of attacking a woman in Long Beach in a crime caught on surveillance video.
Miguel Angel Avila Figueroa is currently facing a misdemeanor count each of sexual battery and vandalism in connection with the alleged attack about 2 p.m. Oct. 20 near Linden Avenue and East Broadway.
In the security video, the victim is seen walking on a sidewalk in a dark dress, passing a man who is sitting on the sidewalk. After she passes by, the man stands up and begins following her, eventually grabbing and lifting her dress before she falls to the ground. A witness nearby approached the man as he tried to leave, but the suspect ran away. He was gone before police arrived.
The alleged victim, Rebekah Pederson, told Fox11 that what happened to her was “absolutely disgusting.”
“When I turned around, I did notice he started picking up his pants,” Pedersen said. “If it wasn’t in broad daylight, and that (good Samaritan) was sitting there, (the suspect) would have raped me.”
Figueroa, 30, remains jailed in lieu of $75,000 bail while awaiting a pretrial hearing Nov. 8.
The District Attorney’s Office declined to file a felony case, and the city charter only allows misdemeanor charges to be filed by the city prosecutor’s office, according to a posting online about the case by the prosecutor’s office.
“If felony charges are filed, the defendant could face increased incarceration, but it could also result in greater rehabilitation resources through Collaborative Court and the L.A. County Probation Department, which are not available for misdemeanor defendants,” according to the city prosecutor’s office. “At a minimum, bringing sexual assault charges at the felony level will more likely ensure the defendant has access to appropriate treatment, while exposing the defendant to additional jail or prison time, in an effort to better protect the public.”
The District Attorney’s Office could not immediately be reached for comment on the request, which was sent Monday in a letter from the city prosecutor to the head deputy of the District Attorney’s Office’s Long Beach branch.