On April 1st, Arthur William Robert Callender was found guilty of two felony counts of sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10. According to prosecutors, Callender sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl that he was babysitting in 2016. His trial had already began when the chief justice of the California Supreme Court issued an order suspending jury trials statewide by 60 days due to the pandemic. But, the chief justice’s order allowed jury trials to proceed if the presiding judge believes there’s good cause to do so. For Callender’s trial, Judge Andre Manssourian decided to move forward due to the serious nature of the crimes and the advanced stage of the proceedings. 14 of the 16 jurors returned to the courthouse on the 1st to hear closing arguments. Rather than sitting in the jury box, the jurors were seated across the entire courtroom to abide social distancing guidelines. For deliberations, the jury was placed in a separate courtroom instead of being placed in a smaller jury room. They were able to reach a verdict within an hour. Callender is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on June 12th according to court records.
To learn more about sex crimes in general, including the legality of rape and sexual battery, click here.