Grass Valley man found guilty on all counts in groping case
A Truckee jury on Thursday found a 21-year-old man guilty of several incidents in which he sexually assaulted women throughout Grass Valley.
Riley Mispley faces a maximum of eight years in state prison for one felony count of committing a lewd act on a child. Mispley also was convicted of five misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, which carry a maximum one-year sentence each that likely would be served concurrently, Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.
Mispley’s sentencing is set for Feb. 25.
“Grass Valley Police Department Detective Clint Lovelady did an excellent job investigating all of the different incidents, which put together led to the identification and arrest of the defendant,” Walsh said in a Facebook post.
Walsh also highlighted the “outstanding” work of Deputy District Attorney Ed Grubaugh during the trial.
Defense attorney Michael Phillips couldn’t be reached for comment.
The trial began Wednesday and jurors returned Thursday with their verdicts after around 90 minutes of deliberation.
In 2018, Grass Valley police detectives began investigating multiple reports of a man grabbing or touching women in a sexual manner as they walked alone, often in broad daylight in populated areas. In one incident the woman reported the man pulled her shirt down and grabbed her breast, then groped her crotch.
Mispley was arrested in November 2018 after two women reported assaults downtown and officers were able to track down the suspect, arresting Mispley. In all, a total of nine incidents were reported, one of which involved a 13-year-old girl, authorities said.
Several of the sexual battery counts were dropped after victims moved out of state and did not want to pursue charges, Walsh said.
According to Walsh, the assault involving the girl initially was charged as a lewd act committed by force.
“You have a complete stranger chasing down a 13-year-old girl, pulling her pants down and touching her,” he said. “The law says the amount of force has to be more than necessary to accomplish the act.”
But after a preliminary hearing into the evidence, Superior Court Judge Linda Sloven did not hold Mispley on that charge, Walsh said. The charge was then re-filed and Judge Candace Heidelberger declined to reverse Sloven’s decision.
“It’s still a serious felony,” Walsh said of the charge of committing a lewd act on a child. “It’s still a strike offense.”
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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