Sexual Assault Unit

About Sexual Assault Unit

The Sexual Assault Unit (“SAU”) of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (“OCDA”) prosecutes defendants for felony violations involving the sexual assault of both minor victims and adult victims.

In addition, the SAU prosecutes defendants for possession of child pornography and for sexually predatory acts directed towards minor victims over the Internet.  The SAU is also responsible for seeking and maintaining civil commitments for persons considered to be Sexually Violent Predators (“SVPs”).  The SAU works in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary team composed of:

  • Forensic interviewers 
  • Social workers 
  • Medical staff
  • Law enforcement detectives 
    • As part of the Orange County Child Abuse Services Team (“CAST”) to assist child victims of sexual assault,  the assigned SAU prosecutor at CAST supervises the interviews of child sexual assault victims in a child-friendly environment and coordinates trainings for the various law enforcement agencies throughout Orange County on the topic of sexual assault.

Due to the serious and violent nature of sexual assault offenses, a large portion of the cases prosecuted by the SAU are “one strike” cases that carry mandatory life sentences in state prison.  The SAU is one of the most prolific trial units within the OCDA.  

In conjunction with local law authorities, the SAU has investigated and prosecuted cases involving religious leaders, teachers, doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officers and others who have used their positions of trust, authority and power to sexually assault minor and adult victims.  The OCDA believes those who hold positions of trust bear greater responsibility for their conduct and will continue to hold those individuals accountable for violations of that trust.  

The SAU also handles cold-hit DNA cases from the investigative stage once a notification is received from the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”) or OCDA’s own DNA database.  Due to continuing scientific breakthroughs, the SAU handles an increasingly high volume of DNA cases and the SAU works closely with local police agencies and the Orange County Crime laboratory to review DNA evidence, locate victims and witnesses, and ascertain whether the existence of DNA enables us to solve and prosecute sexual assaults.  The SAU has worked hundreds of such cases in an effort to successfully prosecute suspects or in the alternative, utilize DNA evidence to determine whether an individual can be eliminated as a potential suspect.

Sexual Assault Kit Information

Per California Penal Code 680.1, survivors of sexual assault have the right to find out about the status, location and information regarding their sexual assault evidence kit. In Orange County, we created a website with information and resources related to our successful efforts to clear Orange County’s backlog of sexual assault kits. If you are a survivor of a sexual assault in Orange County and wish to find out information related to your sexual assault kit. You can fill out the contact sheet here OC SAFE   and a member of Orange County Sexual Assault Forensic Endeavor (OC SAFE) will contact you.