Chef who attempted to sexually assault woman at Atascadero park gets maximum sentence

A former North County chef was sentenced to more than four years in San Luis Obispo County Jail on Monday after he was convicted of attempting to sexually assault a woman at Atascadero Lake Park in 2017.

The sentence of four years and 180 days handed down to David Ebrahimi Ardebili was more than the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department had recommended, his attorney said Monday, though a judge allowed Ardebili to serve his time locally rather than in state prison.

Ardebili, who worked at the since-closed Lady Luck Cafe in Paso Robles, was convicted by a jury in May of felony attempted sexual penetration and misdemeanor assault. He had originally been charged with kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, which prosecutors dismissed.

The roughly two-week trial concluded May 17 after about nine hours of jury deliberations over two days, according to court records.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office previously said Ardebili faced a maximum of four years in prison for the convictions.

But Superior Court Judge Matthew Guerrero on Monday sentenced him to four years and 180 days in County Jail, with credit for 268 days served and another 268 days based on good behavior credits, records show.

A copy of the county probation department’s report was not immediately available Monday, but defense attorney David Vogel said he was very disappointed in the sentence.

Once released from jail, Ardebili, 40, must maintain sex offender registration.

A spokesperson from the District Attorney’s Office was not immediately available for comment Monday afternoon.

Ardebili, previously a resident of Pismo Beach, was sentenced two years to the day that he attempted to sexually assault the woman, who may have been dosed with a date rape drug.

The District Attorney’s Office said Ardebili lured the victim, who was visiting the area, away from friends and family in downtown San Luis Obispo on June 17, 2017.

Officials alleged that Ardebili noticed the highly intoxicated woman walking alone and coaxed her into his vehicle before driving her to Atascadero Lake Park.

He dropped the woman off at the Kmart parking lot in Atascadero after the assault, the District Attorney’s Office said, and his DNA was later found on the woman’s underwear.

A sentencing memorandum filed by Vogel on Friday states that, despite the verdict, Ardebili maintains his innocence.

Vogel wrote that the victim in the case was “the victim of a serious crime” — she was unknowingly dosed with the date rape drug GHB while at a bar in San Luis Obispo, he wrote — but Ardebili did not drug or assault her.

Vogel wrote that Ardebili is “emotionally fragile” and argued that he should receive formal probation, in part, because he may be victimized by other inmates at the jail due to his sex offender status. Vogel said his client has already been assaulted at the jail.

A San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.

While his case proceeded through court, Ardebili was arrested at Oakland International Airport as he was attempting to board a flight to Denmark, where he is a citizen. Vogel wrote in his memo that Ardebili was attempting to see his ailing mother.

Ardebili was out of jail custody at the time, but was prohibited from leaving California without court permission. He’s since been in county jail custody in lieu of $1 million bail.

A restitution hearing is scheduled for September.

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