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.