SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A former Santa Clara police sergeant was sentenced to five years’ probation Friday for exposing himself to a manager at a high-end store in San Jose last year.
Thomas Leipelt, 46, was sentenced in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Paul Bernal to five years of probation, 45 days in jail, a stay-away order of 100 feet from the victim, restitution and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
Leipelt appeared in a jail uniform at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, where he was convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure after a three-day trial last month.
On May 15, Leipelt was in the back room of Annieglass, a luxury glass store at Santana Row shopping center, where the store manager went to retrieve a document from the printer and saw him naked.
The manager had testified that Leipelt was masturbating and asked her to “come here,” but she refused and went out to the store’s payment counter.
Leipelt had been visiting a store employee who he was dating at the time and joined her in the back room during her lunch break.
The couple had sex before the employee stepped out to the front of the store and spoke with friends who were visiting the business when the incident occurred.
Leipelt had been off-duty during the incident and testified that the manager walked in on him using the bathroom.
Leipelt, who was an officer for 24 years, had faced a maximum possible sentence of six months in jail and prosecutors asked the judge for a 90-day sentence, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Lindsay Walsh said.
The 46-year-old worked at Santa Clara police for 15 years and was no longer their employee as of April 7, police Lt. Dan Moreno said.
The case had been kept under wraps by police officials for nearly a year.
Leipelt was granted $50,000 bail earlier this month, but decided to stay in custody, defense attorney Cameron Bowman said.
Leipelt, who has already served 20 days in jail and received 20 days credit for time served, can be released as early as Monday, Bowman said.
Leipelt has the option to remove his name from the sex offender registration list by sailing through probation, clearing his record and obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation, which is a difficult and lengthy
process, Bowman said.
The public attention of Leipelt’s case has led to “collateral consequences” for his family, job and reputation, according to Bowman.
The defense attorney didn’t know of Leipelt’s future plans once he’s released but noted his client wanted to move on with his life.
The ex-police sergeant is scheduled to return to court on June 10 to show proof that he has registered as a sex offender.
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