Former Stanford anesthesia tech gets year in jail for molesting patients


A former anesthesia technician at Stanford Hospital was sentenced to a year in jail Wednesday after pleading no contest to sexual battery charges for touching the genitals of male patients after surgery, prosecutors said.

Robert Lastinger, 57, of Fremont was fired from the hospital on April 2, 2015, and after several nurses reported he had touch the genitals of four male patients -- ages 16, 22, 25 and 52 -- while they were still under anesthesia post-surgery. The hospital alerted Redwood City police.

The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office charged him with four counts of sexual battery but reached a plea deal with Lastinger in May to plead no contest to two counts in exchange for a sentence of no more than a year in jail.

Judge Elizabeth Lee sentenced him Wednesday to the maximum stipulated sentence of a year of jail followed by three years of probation and ordered him to register as a sex offender. He will begin serving his sentence on July 23, according to Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt.

Former California Criminal Justice Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese criticized the plea deal as too light, particularly in light of the controversy over Stanford student Brock Turner, who was sentenced in Palo Alto on June 2 to only six months in jail after a jury convicted him of three felonies for the sexual assault of an unconscious woman outside a frat party.

"Lastinger sexually molested four sedated patients (one minor) that were entrusted into his care and District Attorney (Steve) Wagstaffe has agreed to what amounts to a single misdemeanor penalty," Veronese said.

"As a former law enforcement agent, I call on District Attorney Wagstaffe to rescind the offer and demand a sentence worthy of four felony counts," he said.

But Lastinger's defense attorney, Dennis Lempert, said Wednesday that if anything, he thinks the sentence Lastinger received was too harsh.

"If people knew all of the facts of the allegations, they probably would recognize that given the circumstances of the case it was harsher than it should have been, Lempert said.

For example, he said that the inappropriate touching took less than half a second and there was a sheet over the patients. He acknowledged it was wrong, but said it didn't deserve a year in the county jail.

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25 people like this
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 30, 2016 at 10:50 am

I'm appalled that Mr. Lempert believes 1 year is too long of a jail sentence. I disagree. For any of us who has undergone surgery, you know you are vulnerable. We trust the professionals to be have as such. The defendant, Robert Lastinger, got an incredibly light plea deal. It both angers and saddens me.

11 people like this
Posted by Concerned Coach
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 30, 2016 at 10:51 am

Concerned Coach is a registered user.

Our judicial system has gone soft.

8 people like this
Posted by Lizzie
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2016 at 10:54 am

Lizzie is a registered user.

Molestation causes lasting damage to it's victims. The victims have received life sentences. Perhaps the perpetrator would like the same. [Portion removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by Informed
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2016 at 12:16 pm

The mitigating factor that seems very important to me is that the touching was very brief (half a second) and there was a barrier of a sheet.

13 people like this
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

I think brief touching through a sheet is zero mitigating factor. He is taking advantage of someone in an extremely vulnerable situation. I also give credit to the nurses for reporting him.

5 people like this
Posted by Trust Judges
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

It would be great to have trained professionals who can evaluate such cases and all of the evidence, and decide what punishment is most suitable given the facts of the case and the good of the community.

Wait, we do have such people - Judges! Let's trust them a bit more. The court of public opinion is much less reliable.

8 people like this
Posted by outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

There are many crimes that ruin lives that take half a second but years and years of deliberate evil thinking.

23 people like this
Posted by Recall Persky
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 30, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Hmm -- touch someone for half a second over a sheet with no penetration, get a year in jail. Spend 20 minutes of "action" penetrating an unconscious woman in the dirt behind a dumpster, and only stop when you are caught -- 6 months.

I guess it's better to be a Stanford swimmer than an anesthesia tech.

Like this comment
Posted by Slow down
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm

[Post removed.]

1 person likes this
Posted by NotASwimmer
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2016 at 4:35 pm

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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