|Cotati man sentenced for sexual assaults
A Cotati man will spend almost 15 years in prison for a series of roadside sexual assaults on women drivers in 2008 and 2009.
Thomas Darin Boccaleoni, 47, was sentenced on Dec. 20 to 14 years and six months behind bars after he pleaded no contest to driving up behind three women on darkened roads in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, flashing his high-beam lights and molesting them when they pulled over.
Sonoma County prosecutors originally had charged the former Marin County chef with 10 felonies. Prosecutors, however, agreed to drop seven counts in a pre-trial settlement. Had those additional charges been pursued, Boccaleoni was staring at 28 years behind bars
The attacks in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol were not het first time he had been convicted for attacks on women, according to a probation report.
He was sentenced to a year in jail in 2006 for assaulting four women on San Francisco streets. In those assaults, he pretended to ask for directions to get close to them. In one of the attacks, he tried to pull a woman into his SUV as she was entering her parent's home.
Probation officials at that time said Boccaleoni was in the high-risk category for being charged or convicted of another sexual offense after his release. He could be committed for a longer period under the state's sexually violent predator law. According to Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch, he’ll be required to serve 85 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Law enforcement officials began investigating after there were multiple reports of roadside attacks on women from November 2008 to April 2009. Each time, women reported being tailgated by a vehicle and flashed by high-beam lights. Then, Boccaleoni would pull alongside in the oncoming lane and attempted to make them pull over.
The prime areas for these assaults were Calistoga and Bennett Valley roads near Santa Rosa.
The victims described their attacker as male with with a turtleneck sweater pulled over his nose or wearing a ski mask.
In an attack on Bennett Valley Road in 2008, according to a probation report, Boccaleoni walked up to the driver's window, told her a motorcycle had crashed and asked her to call 911. When she dialed her mother instead, Boccaleoni told her to hang up or he would slit her throat. He then reached into the car and groped her breasts and genitals. DNA taken from the zipper of her pants matched Boccaleoni's DNA, according to the probation report. Boccaleoni was arrested after the Sebastopol assault in which he also was accused of threatening to kill his victim.
Police learned of his past convictions and found vehicles at his home matching the victims' descriptions.