Man convicted of sexual assault
August 14, 2007
A Southern California man was convicted in Nevada County Superior Court in Truckee Monday of six felonies stemming from the sexual assault of a Truckee woman he met last year on the Internet.
A jury of eight men and four women found David Laguna, 40, of Chino, Calif., guilty of four counts of sexual assault, one count of criminal threats and one count of false imprisonment. All six are felonies and carry a combined maximum penalty of up to 26 years in jail, said Nevada County Deputy District Attorney Kathryn Francis.
The jury found Laguna not guilty of seven other charges. He faces sentencing on Sept. 11 in Truckee.
The assault victim is a disabled Truckee resident who met Laguna in a social networking Internet site, TagWorld. The Sierra Sun’s policy is not to name victims of sexual assault.
Laguna shuffled into the courtroom twice Monday afternoon, his legs in restraints, as the jury went in and out of deliberation.
“This is the crime of the 2000s ” the Internet has become the new hunting ground,” said Truckee Police Depart-ment’s Detective Robert Womack.
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Like MySpace and Facebook, TagWorld is a social networking site where anyone with an Internet connection can learn intimate details about others. Womack called TagWorld the MySpace for adults, and said Laguna was looking for a victim and found one in Truckee.
In court Monday, Laguna looked tired as he listened to the clerk read the jury’s verdicts.
“They found him guilty of all the charges that were important to me,” Francis said. “I’m more than pleased with this verdict.”
The prosecutor said she will seek the maximum sentence when Laguna returns Sept. 11 for sentencing by Superior Court Judge C. Anders Holmer.
“He will most likely be a lifetime sex registrant [as well],” she added.
Truckee Police investigators have leads about other potential victims but cannot release details, Womack said.
“This was a heinous crime,” Francis said. “What was compelling about this case is the victim was disabled, had Parkinson’s disease and suffered from heart disease.”
According to evidence presented during the trial, after locating the woman’s location online, Laguna drove to Truckee and assaulted her on Oct. 23. He was apprehended the same day at a local pool hall.
Laguna will remain in Nevada County Jail in Nevada City until his sentencing. His bail has been set at $50,000.