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Additional child sexual assault charges filed against Sebastopol's gay former mayor

by Sari Staver

Robert Jacob. Photo: Courtesy Facebook
Robert Jacob. Photo: Courtesy Facebook   

The gay former Sebastopol mayor who was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a minor is now free on $620,00 bail following a hearing April 15, when the Sonoma County District Attorney's office added four additional counts to the initial charges.

Robert Jacob, 44, is represented by attorney Chris Adrian, who did not return the Bay Area Reporter's phone call at press time.

Jacob is expected to enter a plea at his next hearing May 6, according to the Sonoma County Superior Court website.

Updated, 5/14/21: On May 13, Jacob pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to the DA's office, Jacob now faces three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with underage persons and one count of procurement of a child. Those are in addition to the original three counts of lewd and lascivious acts with underage persons; one count of contact with a minor with the intent of having sexual contact; one count of distribution of pornography; one count of sexual penetration with an object; and one count of procuring a child under 16.

As previously reported, Jacob was appointed mayor for one term between December 2013 and December 2014 during his single four-year term on the Sebastopol City Council from 2012 to 2016.

Jacob is also the co-founder of Peace and Medicine, Sonoma's first cannabis dispensary, which later merged with SPARC, a San Francisco-based dispensary founded by Erich Pearson, a gay man. After the merger, Jacob served as president of SPARC, although the affiliation ended several years ago.

"The allegations against Robert Jacob, who has not been affiliated or associated with SPARC for several years, involve horrible and unconscionable actions," Pearson wrote on social media after news of Jacob's arrest.

"These abuses of power have no place in our communities nor our society, and have gone on for far too long," Pearson added. Our hearts and support go out to the victim and their families, and we at SPARC wish to make a clear statement that we believe victims and survivors, and this behavior in no way reflects on the culture and values that we hold dear."

Charges against Jacob surfaced April 10, when Sebastopol police arrested him, based on information they had received in late March about alleged sexual assaults that may have happened in the city from December 2019 to March 2021. Following an investigation, he was arrested and initially held without bond in the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Center.

According to the police, the investigation is ongoing.
A LinkedIn page under Jacob's name says he is the principal of Robert Jacob Executive Consulting, which provides services for cannabis businesses, including management, political and human relations consulting, project management, and public relations.

Updated, 5/14/21: This article has been updated to state that Robert Jacob has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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