It might seem hard to believe, but a victim whose sexual abuse began 30 years ago saw a Lassen County Superior Court jury convict the abuser earlier this week. And the conviction in this case may give hope to other sexual abuse victims who have never reported their childhood abuse. It may not be too late.
According to a statement from the Lassen County District Attorney’s Office, Matthew Curtis Hurst, 58, of Stockton, was convicted after a jury trial this week of 23 counts of sexual abuse of a child, 10 of those counts being aggravated.
According to the statement, this case was unique because crimes occurred between 1993 and 2000 — meaning the victim is an adult now. The Penal Code under section 803(f) serves to extend the statute of limitations for certain types of sexual based offenses, provided that the victim was under 18 at the time of the acts, they were later reported to a California law enforcement agency, a prosecution was initiated within one year of the report, and there is corroboration (support) of the crimes other than the victim’s statement.
The 10 aggravated counts carry a life sentence, so they had no statute of limitations; but the other non-aggravated counts normally would have had a 10-year limitation within which to file charges. However, due to the qualifiers listed above and the corroboration of the defendant’s admissions to the crimes, those counts were also able to be charged and prosecuted.
Many agencies involved in investigation
The case was initially reported to Stockton Police Department in August 2020, because that is where the defendant was living at that time and forwarded to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office. Prosecutors and DA investigators at the SJCDA, upon further review, realized the acts described actually occurred in Lassen County. They immediately contacted the LCDA investigations division and it timely opened a case
According to the statement, “This verdict is important not only for the survivor in this case, but to adult survivors reading this who never reported their childhood abuse (which is very common). It might not be too late to report, depending on the type of abuse and other circumstances.:
Hurst will be sentenced Oct. 19, 2023. Aggravated sexual assault of a child carries a mandatory sentence of 15-years-to-life and the statute requires consecutive sentences.
“We wish our Jane Doe continued success on her healing journey and thank you for coming forward and all this way to testify in this case,” according to the statement.
This case was prosecuted by District Attorney Susan Rios and investigated by our investigation division and the Stockton Police Department, with special thanks to San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office and Lassen Victim/Witness Advocacy.