Warning: This article contains disturbing details
A former horse trainer in Northern California was ordered to pay $9 million in damages last week after a woman accused him of sexual assault.
Ari Herbertson, who worked at Golden Gates Fields in Berkeley at the time of the incident, was charged with sexual battery, forcible sexual penetration and assault with intent to commit a sex crime, according to FOX 2 San Francisco. Those charges were dropped in the plea deal.
The suspect was also charged with assault with a deadly weapon in relation to the incident and pleaded no contest. He was sentenced to a year in jail and two years of probation, the East Bay Times reported.
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The victim accused Herbertson of slipping a date rape drug in her mimosa at Golden Gate Fields in January 2019. The woman, a former law enforcement officer, said that she felt “instantly intoxicated” after a small sip of the drink.
Herbertson and another suspect allegedly took the woman to a nearby field to rape her, documents say.
The victim said in court that she relied on her police training to preserve evidence from the assault.
Judge Jeffrey Brand said in court that the suspect’s guilt is “more probable than not” and ordered him to pay the massive $9 million sum.
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In his order, the judge noted the severity of the consequences the victim suffered as a result of the assault.
“Plaintiff also testified that she is concerned that any beverage she may purchase in public has been drugged,” Brand wrote. “Plaintiff related that she intentionally gained approximately 50 pounds to make herself less attractive so that she would not be raped again.”
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“She also stated that she experiences memory loss that she characterized as ‘holes’ in her brain,” the judge added.