Past Sebastopol mayor held on 11 child sexual assault felony charges

Former Sebastopol mayor and out gay man Robert Jacob now faces 11 felony charges of child sexual assault, up from five since city police arrested him Saturday morning, April 10, according to Sonoma County Superior Court records.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s online “Jail Inmate Search” shows Jacob’s bail set at $620,000, a change since the Sebastopol Police Department (SPD)’s April 10 press release said he was taken to the Sonoma County Main Adult Detention Facility and held without bail that day.

Jacob, 44, has a court date scheduled for Thursday, April 15 at 1:30 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office jail detainee search. He was appointed mayor for one term between December 2013 and December 2014 during his single four-year term from on the Sebastopol City Council from 2012 to 2016, according to Mary Gourley, city clerk and assistant city manager.

Jacob is also the co-founder of Sebastopol’s first cannabis dispensary, Peace in Medicine.

The court records for Robert Emmanuel Jacob list one count for sexual penetration with a child under 16 years-old, five counts of lewd acts with a child age 14 or 15 being 10 or more years older than the minor and two counts of coming into the possession of a child younger than 16 for lewd or lascivious acts.

Further, the records show one count for communication with a minor to commit an offense, one count for arranging to meet a child for lewd acts and one count for distribution of child pornography.

Sebastopol police officers reached Jacob at around 7 a.m. Saturday, April 10 in the 7400 block of Woodland Avenue and arrested him on suspicion of five felony and one misdemeanor sexual assault crimes against a minor, per the April 10 SPD statement said.

According to the press release, the police came into information on March 30 about sexual assaults that may have happened in Sebastopol from December 2019 to March 2021 and the investigation led to Jacob. Police Chief Kevin Kilgore said six officers responded, along with a lieutenant and himself, to serve the arrest and search warrant in an April 14 interview. 

“The initial crimes that were mentioned at the start of this investigation all occurred in the city of Sebastopol and the investigation is ongoing to determine if there were more crimes that occurred in the city of Sebastopol,” Police Chief Kevin Kilgore said in an April 14 interview.

Kilgore said he did not know how many separate incidents may have occurred and that he could not discuss any of the evidence in the ongoing investigation involving one victim so far, “but we’ve asked that anyone who may have information related to this incident or any other incident that they contact the Sebastopol Police Department.”

The April 10 statement requested anyone with that information call SPD at 707-829-4400 for Report #21-0220.

The police chief also said he could not share further information on how Sebastopol police received the tip on March 30, nor how Jacob may have arranged to commit the alleged acts or what relationship may have existed between the former mayor and the minor during the investigation.

SPD will work with the district attorney throughout the investigation, Kilgore said.