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Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Accused Molester Challenges State Time Statute : Crime: Santa Clarita man allegedly assaulted four girls decades ago. New law permits charges within a year of reporting.

October 19, 1994|MARK SABBATINI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A Santa Clarita man charged with molesting four girls more than 20 years ago is challenging the constitutionality of a new state law that allows molestation suspects to be charged within a year of the date the alleged crime is reported to police.

The accused man, William Lynch, 64, will appear in Los Angeles Superior Court on Thursday for a pretrial hearing, but his lawyer and prosecutors expect pretrial proceedings to be put on hold until the challenge to the law is decided in appellate court.

Lynch, free on $100,000 bail, was charged in June of molesting three sisters and their childhood friend from March, 1967, to July, 1972, when the girls were between 7 and 13 years old.

One of the alleged victims secretly taped phone and personal conversations with him in July, 1993, about her memories of the alleged molestation.

Lynch already lost two earlier attempts--at a preliminary hearing and an earlier pretrial proceeding--to have the charges against him dropped on the basis of the legitimacy of the new law. But his lawyer, Frank Di Sabatino, said Tuesday that he will take his argument to the state's 2nd District Court of Appeal.

"At the time the alleged crime was committed, the statute of limitations on his particular crime was three years," said Di Sabatino.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Francesca Frey said the challenge was expected and that she is confident the law will be again upheld.

"There's ample policy considerations and ample case authority that allows us to go forward," she said.

Frey estimated the appeals court proceedings will delay pretrial hearings in the Lynch case for two to three months.

The alleged victims have said the case is not a result of "recovered memory." They said in court that they never forgot Lynch's actions but were afraid to speak to authorities.

The woman who taped the conversations testified at the preliminary hearing in June that Lynch performed oral sex on her and tried to have intercourse with her.

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