Deputy DA expresses consternation over local case

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By Carol A. Clark

In a recent letter and during a telephone interview this morning, Deputy District Attorney Barbara Romo explained why she hasn’t advanced the Joong Dae Cha sex crime case.

“I consider two factors in determining a case,” Romo said. “Is there enough evidence and is the victim emotionally able to go forward with the case.”

Romo explained that while there is sufficient evidence in the Cha case to move forward, the child’s mother has made it clear that her daughter is not emotionally strong enough at this time to withstand a trial.

Cha, 48, was arrested Aug. 22 and charged with eight counts of felony sex crimes involving a female child under 13 years of age. Four counts were first-degree felonies involving criminal sexual penetration and the other four were second-degree felonies involving criminal sexual contact.

There is no statute of limitations on first-degree felonies, Romo said, so the case can be prosecuted at anytime in the future.

“There’s no point in pushing the girl into something she’s not ready to do,” Romo said. “If she feels ready in six months or a year, we can move forward then – or she may never feel ready.”

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