Former UCSB student Christian Covarrubias will serve nine months in the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of felony sexual assault and felony false imprisonment.
Covarrubias entered into a plea bargain on Feb. 10, which put him on five-year probation and requires him to register as a sex offender and attend various therapy treatments. UC Police Dept. officers arrested Covarrubias on Nov. 19, 2005, at his then-residence of Francisco Torres Residence Hall in connection with a reported attempted rape. The officers had received a call from a female FT resident who claimed a man had broken into her room and attempted to sexually assault her. The woman identified Covarrubias as her assailant.
Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley said she originally asked the judge to sentence Covarrubias to one year in jail, but she feels that his punishment is sufficient.
Rachel Soloman, Covarrubias’ attorney, said her client will serve the remainder of his sentence in the Santa Barbara County Jail, where he has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 19, 2005. Soloman said she asked for a reduced sentence because he had already served time in harsh conditions.
“He’s in a ‘basement’ with 20 people, and he only gets out two hours each week,” Soloman said.
Soloman said that, while Covarrubias will serve nine months in jail, his punishment will follow him for the rest of his life. For example, because Covarrubias must now register as a sex offender, his chances of being accepted back into a university may be hurt, and he is not allowed to return to UCSB, Soloman said.
At Covarrubias’ sentence hearing on March 17, the man’s stepfather and one of his high school teachers spoke on his behalf. Dudley said Covarrubias’ stepfather felt sorry for the incident and hoped his stepson would turn to a better life. Covarrubias’ high school teacher said his former student had always gotten along well with girls his age and that it was not in his character to attempt rape.
“[Covarrubias] was crying, his family was crying,” Dudley said. “He said he was very sorry he’d brought this upon this young woman.”
Soloman said she thinks many factors caused Covarrubias to assault the woman, including the fact that he might not have been mature enough to go to college and that he had been drinking.
“He’s not an evil person or a pervert,” Soloman said. “He’s just someone who did a stupid thing.”