* Note: Neil Gehlawat is no longer an attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles *
Chain | Cohn | Stiles has released a statement after a jury found a correctional officer accused of sexually assaulting a teenage inmate at Juvenile Hall not guilty.
The personal injury and workers’ compensation law firm Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed two claims against the County of Kern on behalf of two females who were sexually assaulted in separate incidents by Kern County Juvenile Corrections officers while the girls were housed at James G. Bowels Juvenile Hall.
In one of the cases, Jane Doe 1 was housed at James G. Bowles Juvenile Hall from June 2014 through February 2015. While there, she enrolled in the Pathways Academy commitment program. Throughout September 2014, Kern County Corrections officer Cesar Holguin Navejar allegedly sexually assaulted her. When she reported the incident, supervisors initiated an administrative and criminal investigation. On Oct. 30, 2014, Navejar was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting Jane Doe 1.
Navejar was found not guilty by a jury, and attorney Neil Gehlawat released a statement to Kern County media following the verdict:
“My client and I are obviously disappointed in today’s outcome, but we remain committed to obtaining justice on behalf of our client through the civil case. I believe that we will be able to obtain critical information regarding this incident through the discovery process, including the Kern County Probation Department’s own investigation of the incident. The outcome of the criminal case will not have an effect on the civil case, and I believe the evidence in the civil case will show that this incident of sexual assault did in fact occur.”
Gehlawat also told The Bakersfield Californian that further investigation, including questioning of Navejar, can take place now that the criminal case is over. He said the teen has suffered significant emotional distress stemming from the alleged assault. A trial date for the civil case has not yet been scheduled.
- The trial of Cesar Navejar, ends with an acquittal (KGET-17, NBC)
- Not guilty verdicts for juvenile corrections officer accused of sexually assaulting female inmate (KGET-17, NBC)
- Jury finds correctional officer not guilty in sex assault case (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Judge refuses to find correctional officer innocent in Juvenile Hall sex abuse case (The Bakersfield Californian)
PREVIOUS CASE MEDIA COVERAGE
- Legal claims filed for girls allegedly sexually assaulted in Kern juvenile hall (KBAK-KBFX / CBS-Fox)
- Two claims filed against Kern County in connection with alleged sexual assaults at Juvenile Hall (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Attorney files claims against county, juvenile corrections officers (KGET / NBC)
- Attorney: There may be more victims of guards accused of sexual assault at Juvenile Hall (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Attorney lays out sexual assault claims against juvenile hall officers (KBAK-KBFX / CBS-Fox)
- Neil Gehlawat hosts a press conference (Instagram)
- Neil Gehlawat sits in with The Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene on “First Look with Scott Cox” (Google+)
- Girls claim juvie guards sexually assaulted them (Courthouse News Service)