The former Democrat mayor of Sebastopol, California, has pleaded no contest to child sex crime charges and will spend seven years in prison.
Robert Jacob, a 45-year-old Democrat who served as Sebastopol’s mayor from 2013 to early 2016 after serving on the city council, pleaded no contest after he was charged in 2021 with six counts of child sex crimes.
The no contest plea allows Jacob to accept a conviction and sentence without admitting to guilt. As part of his plea deal with the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office, Jacob will be sentenced to seven years in prison.
After his arrest, prosecutors alleged that Jacob had met an underage boy on the gay dating app Grindr sometime before December 2019 after he had already left the mayor’s office. The boy told prosecutors that his being underage did not stop Jacob from sexually assaulting him in his home from late 2019 to March 2021 on a number of occasions.
Jacob was also accused of sending the boy nude photos and inviting other men to have sex with the boy. Sometime in 2021, the boy or his parents reported the alleged sexual abuse to authorities, prompting them to arrest Jacob in April of that year.
After Jacob became mayor in 2013, the New York Times published a glowing profile of the Democrat official, calling his “rise … a sign of the times” with his background in marijuana sales.
The Times reported:
A resident of Sebastopol since 2004, Mr. Jacob is a relative newcomer. He grew up in Rodeo, in the East Bay, the son of immigrants, his father from Mexico and his mother from Iraq. He moved with his family to the Central Valley, but uncomfortable in the area’s conservative culture because he was gay, he said, at 15 he decamped to San Francisco, where he first lived in a homeless shelter for youths. In San Francisco, Mr. Jacob went to high school and also worked for several social services groups, helping victims of domestic violence and H.I.V.-positive youths. [Emphasis added]
After moving here, Mr. Jacob said he found many people “hiding in their homes and basement and cabins, cultivating cannabis,” which inspired him and a handful of other business partners to take their first anxious steps toward opening the dispensary. [Emphasis added]
Jacob’s sentencing is scheduled for March 23.