Sara Yousuf, Sara.Yousuf@sfgov.org
Deputy Director of Communications / Assistant District Attorney
SAN FRANCISCO— Today, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced that a San Francisco jury returned guilty verdicts for seven felony offenses in a rape and sexual assault case. The case stemmed from a December 2, 2014 incident in which Mr. Santana West raped, battered, and threatened to kill the victim. The jury returned guilty verdicts as to seven felonies: Forcible Rape (Penal Code 261 (a)(2)), Assault with Intent to Commit Rape (Penal Code 220(a)(1)), Sexual Battery by Restraint (Penal Code 243.4(a)), two counts of Assault with Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury (Penal Code 245(a)(4)) and False Imprisonment (Penal Code 236).
“I want to acknowledge the years of hard work that our office dedicated to successfully prosecuting this violent rape case,” said District Attorney Boudin. “After many years, I especially commend my team for successfully prosecuting this case at trial and securing closure for the victim despite all of the challenges imposed by the pandemic.”
At trial, the District Attorney’s Office presented evidence that on December 2, 2014, Mr. West, who was unknown to the victim, approached her near Turk and Hyde Street and asked if he could accompany her home. She initially declined his offer but accepted after Mr. West told her that he knew her brother. When they arrived at the victim’s home, Mr. West beat, sexually assaulted, and threatened to kill her. He physically restrained her to prevent her from escaping multiple times. Hours into the ordeal, Mr. West fell asleep, at which point the victim was able to escape to a neighbor’s home where she called the police. SFPD officers arrived within minutes. An ambulance transported the victim to San Francisco General Hospital shortly after.
The District Attorney’s Office presented the testimony of eight witnesses spread over nine weeks. Witnesses included the survivor, civilians, law enforcement officers, and medical professionals. Rape Trauma Nurse Diana Emerson testified as an expert in the field of Strangulation and Sexual Trauma. The District Attorney’s Office also called Sergeant Andrea Creed from SFPD’s SVU who received the survivor’s initial statement and led the subsequent investigation. The jury heard, and found true, evidence of Mr. West committing similar misconduct on a different victim in 2002, forcible rape.
Assistant District Attorney Courtney Burris of the District Attorney’s Office’s Child Abuse and Sexual Assault (CASA) Unit prosecuted the case, assisted by Law Clerk Zahra Parekh, District Attorney Investigators Preston Lee and Molly Braun, and Paralegal Andrew Ong.
“In the seven long years since this unthinkable act, the survivor has been steadfast in seeing this case through,” said Assistant District Attorney Courtney Burris, who was lead prosecutor on the case. “She has courageously participated in every phase of this case, including testifying at a preliminary hearing five years ago. It is through her strength and perseverance that justice could be served.”