Coffee Shop-2403

Archived photo of Frank Cruz and Tauney Van Sickle, in 2008, at the soft opening of The Rocket Cafe coffee house at 19th and Eye streets. Both are now charged with sex crimes.

Courtenay Edelhart/ The Californian

Prosecutors are filing an amended criminal complaint against a former Bakersfield bar owner accused of engaging in sex acts with a child after the man's defense counsel argued some of the charges are "overlapping and duplicative."

The amended information regards counts 1 and 2 against Frank Mark Sanchez, both of which involve sex acts with a child 10 years old or younger.

Judge Michael G. Bush on Thursday granted the prosecution's request to amend the complaint, and set a date of March 14 for Sanchez's public defender, Paul Cadman, to argue what he alleges are the overlapping charges against his client. 

Cadman has requested through court filings that the hearing — in which he'll request certain charges be stricken from the record — be held in private due to safety concerns.

"I have practiced law for the better part of 33 years and am well acquainted with how other inmates view, and target, persons in custody charged with sexual offenses against children," Cadman wrote in a Feb. 21 filing. "I believe that Mr. Sanchez's very life is in jeopardy should this demurrer be presented in open court with other inmates present."

In response to Cadman's assertion that certain charges are overlapping, prosecutor Alexandria Ottoman wrote that each count against Sanchez states the date and victim of the offense, "the specific statute to have been violated and the specific language of the Penal Code violated by the defendant."

She wrote counts 1 and 2 don't overlap with any other count except count 6, and there is no case law which says count 6 can't "slightly overlap" with the conduct in counts 1 and 2.

Count 6 is "using a minor for obscene matter: commercial purposes." Sanchez allegedly recorded some of the sex acts and posted them on a blog. 

Ottoman says Cadman's motion should be denied in its entirety.

According to court documents, the alleged victim, now an adult, went to police headquarters Aug. 28 with her mother and told police Sanchez, 53, began abusing her when she was 5 years old.

From the ages of 5 to 7, the woman told police, Sanchez engaged in sex acts with her at least once a week. Sometimes he photographed or filmed her during the acts, she said, and she believes he posted nude images of her online.

Sanchez admitted to the abuse, according to the documents. He told investigators there are no other victims.

Also charged in connection with the same alleged victim is Tauney Lee Van Sickle, 31, a local nurse who admitted to being nude with and engaging in sexual contact with the then 11-year-old, according to the documents.

Van Sickle told investigators she committed the acts to make money for a "sex blog" that Sanchez was running, according to the documents. She said he photographed her and the minor while they were nude for use on the blog.

She said she dated Sanchez from 2007 to 2009. 

Jason Kotowski can be reached at 661-395-7491. Follow him on Twitter @tbcbreakingnews.

(1) comment


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