L.A. City Attorney Files Charges Against Joe Francis

Tod Hunter
LOS ANGELES — Criminal sexual battery charges were filed against "Girls Gone Wild" producer Joe Francis today by Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Francis is currently in jail in Florida, serving a 35-day sentence for contempt of court.

“In the city of Los Angeles, we have zero tolerance for such conduct,” Delgadillo said.

Francis has been charged with one count of sexual battery. Conviction could lead to six months in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. Arraignment is scheduled for May 22 in Department 77 of the Hollywood Courthouse.

The charges against Francis came from a January 10 incident at a birthday party at the Geisha House restaurant in Hollywood, Calif. According to police reports, the 18-year old female victim in the case was repeatedly touched on the breasts, buttocks, and inner thigh while sitting next to Francis. Despite repeated requests not to touch her, the activity continued and was witnessed by other guests more than 10 times, over the course of the evening.

A police report was later filed, and the results of the investigation were forwarded to the Hollywood Branch of Delgadillo’s Criminal and Special Litigation Section.

Francis is still facing legal problems in Florida and Nevada, and may be facing another separate charge in California.

In Florida, where he is serving the sentence for contempt of court, he is accused of trying to bribe a jail guard. A federal court in Reno, Nev., has indicted Francis on charges that his companies claimed more than $20 million in false business expenses, and that Francis improperly concealed income. In California, his probation on a federal case involving 2257 violations could be endangered because of his problems in Florida.