SANTA CLARA COUNTY (KPIX 5) — A homeless man wanted in the rape of a woman whose family had befriended him was taken into custody Friday in a San Jose encampment, authorities said.
San Jose police said 43-year-old Sharwian Bobian was being taken to the Santa Clara County jail where he will be held on sexual assault charges.
The case had stirred up a firestorm of controversy after the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office initially decided not to file charges because Bobian’s history of mental illness would make it difficult to win a conviction.
After the outcry, prosecutors filed charges earlier this week.
“I feel relieved and happy that they’re pursuing charges. It is very concerning that they don’t know where he’s at yet,” said the victim, who asked to remain anonymous.
Additionally, the victim told KPIX 5 that prosecutors told her because she didn’t say no or fight back that the case would be a tough sell to jurors.
“It was just disheartening. I mean I can’t begin to describe the feeling. I just felt so betrayed,” the victim said.
That initial decision to not file charges allowed Bobian to be released from jail.
“This was a sexual assault. We made an arrest. We know there was probable cause. We believe there’s enough to prosecute and our victims deserve better, particularly the victims of sexual assault,” said Sheriff Laurie Smith.
The victim has consistently said she was afraid for her life–afraid that the suspect might kill her if she resisted or fought back. Women’s advocate Michelle Dauber says a victim’s choice in a life-or-death scenario like sexual assault shouldn’t be second-guessed.
“The victim said that she was afraid for her life. And women should not have to be put in a position where they have to put themselves in even greater danger by fighting in order to get justice,” Dauber said.