The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office reduced charges on Wednesday, Jan. 9 for an Oakdale man accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at a December party he was hosting.
Timothy Lyman, 44, pleaded not guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and oral copulation of a person under age 18. The charge of unlawful sexual intercourse, commonly known as “statutory rape,” is a less severe crime than felony rape and does not require proving force was used or the victim was incapable of resisting the perpetrator. It can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.
“The suspect claimed it was consensual and the victim said she was raped,” said Oakdale Police Sergeant Brian Shimmel. “The DA felt under the circumstances, underage sex was more appropriate to charge because of the lack of physical evidence.”
Those within the police department stated no search warrant was obtained after the crime was reported and no search was conducted of Lyman’s H Street residence for physical evidence such as the bedding where the act reportedly occurred. The police cite the delay in the reporting of the crime, Jan. 7, and the date of the incident, Dec. 27, as the reason for not gathering physical evidence.
Lyman is accused of having sex with the victim after she fell asleep at a party he was throwing at his home for friends of his own teenage daughter.
The victim claims she was drinking alcohol supplied by Lyman at the party and fell asleep in a bedroom. She awoke in the early morning hours and Lyman was having sex with her.
According to police, Lyman admitted during questioning that he had also been drinking at the party, became intoxicated, and did not deny having sex with the victim. Police have released no further details of the assault.
At his arraignment, Lyman was assigned a public defender by Superior Court Judge Susan Siefkin and his bail was increased to $200,000.
On Friday, Jan. 11, Deputy Public Defender Sonny Sandhu got Lyman’s bail reduced to $50,000, the regular bail amount for the revised charges. With help from family members, Lyman posted bail that afternoon.
Lyman’s preliminary hearing is set for Friday, Feb. 1. At that time the District Attorney’s office will have to show if there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.