Charges Dropped, Suspect Cleared in SMC Library Attack

Chase Guy Reynolds, the man accused of the sexual assault of a Santa Monica College student in April of this year, had the charges against him formally dismissed on Monday at LAX Court, after spending nearly six months in jail.

In a postscript to the verdict, Peter L. Knecht, Reynolds' defense attorney, said Reynolds plans on filing a lawsuit against "all the parties involved," including the Santa Monica Police Department, the District Attorney's Office, and the County Sheriff's Department.

"The whole thing just didn't make sense," said Knecht, before listing the various errors tainting the case against Reynolds, including coercion of the victim during the selection of the suspect in an official lineup, and a discrepancy between the victim's initial statement, and the evidence taken immediately after the crime had allegedly taken place.

According to Knecht, the victim stated she had been licked upon the stomach before the actual sexual assault took place. However, subsequent tests failed to concur with the story, and the victim later retracted her story prior to Reynold's release from jail on Sept. 24, saying she had instead been molested by a girlfriend's stepfather.

Reynolds, 40, was officially charged on April 9 of the assault that occurred in the SMC library late afternoon of Saturday April 4. Having been selected in a police lineup, he was charged with two counts of sexual battery, attempted sexual penetration by a foreign object, and second-degree robbery, but Knecht believes that the case against Reynolds was flawed even at that nascent stage of the investigation.

"[The victim} would never have picked Reynolds out were it not for her girlfriend," said Knecht. "I think her girlfriend recognized him from the campus, and she coerced her friend in a way that is just not acceptable. The fact her girlfriend was present at the lineup in first place is unusual."

Shiara Davila-Morales, spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, said that DNA testing, insufficient evidence, and problems regarding proof prompted Superior Court Judge Kathryn Solorzano to dismiss the charges against Reynolds. There are no plans to re-file at this time.

This will, however, be of no comfort to Reynolds. After nearly six months in jail, and, according to Knecht, a victim himself of physical abuse at the hands of his fellow inmates, it is only to be expected that he is seeking retribution.

He's lost six months of his life," said Knecht. "He'll never be able to get that back." 

Messages left for the Santa Monica Police Department and SMC campus police were not immediately returned.