The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office announced on May 19 that it would not prosecute the sexual assault case against Jura Aghassi, the former owner of Jura’s Pizza formerly located on North Yosemite Avenue which closed last year.
Last September, the Oakdale Police Department received a complaint from a 19-year-old woman who worked for Aghassi claiming she had been sexually assaulted by Aghassi while in his office at the pizza parlor stating he tried to touch her breasts and put his hands down her pants.
Since his arrest last October, Aghassi appeared in Stanislaus County Superior Court on several occasions waiting to be arraigned, but each time the district attorney’s office requested more time to review the case.
“We did not feel we could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Merrill Hoult.
The district attorney’s office declined to expand on their decision with specific questions if the case lacked actual evidence or the reason was one of victim cooperation or credibility.
“We felt there was enough evidence,” said Oakdale Police Lieutenant Keri Redd about the case.
Oakdale Police arrested Aghassi on Oct. 20 after a month-long investigation that included Oakdale officers and detectives interviewing other individuals who worked at the establishment, a search warrant and sending Aghassi’s cell phone for forensic analysis.
A restraining order was filed by the 19-year-old victim shortly after the sexual assault complaint was made against Ahassi outlining the events that allegedly occurred in the backroom of the restaurant as well as threats received by her from Aghassi and demanding that she drop the charges.
The temporary restraining order issued in the case was dropped on Jan. 15 for lack of prosecution, which typically means the individual requesting the restraining order did not appear in court to prove cause for continuing the order.
“He was innocent. The district attorney’s office did the right thing in rejecting it,” Aghassi’s defense attorney Kirk McAllistert told The Leader’s sister newspaper The Turlock Journal. “Mr. Aghassi insisted all along that he was innocent and that’s how it stands.”