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Sexual assault convict flees from court

July 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Authorities are hunting a local hospital worker who was newly convicted of sexually assaulting patients.Dante Arnaud, 41, of Santa Ana may have known which way the jury was going to go because he was supposed to sit in the courtroom during deliberations but instead fled.

Click here to watch Eileen Frere's report

Arnaud is married with children, and on Thursday while the jury was deliberating, he apparently went home and spoke to his wife briefly, then told her he was heading back to court. That was the last time he was seen.

The jury did find him guilty of sexual assault. Prosecutors said Arnaud was free on $250,000 bail, but the judge instructed him to remain in the courthouse while the jury deliberated. He would have been arrested after the guilty verdict came in.

Arnaud is a blood technician at a local hospital in Garden Grove, but victims testified that he went into maternity wards and gave breast exams to women who had just given birth or were about to give birth.

"These were very vulnerable women who had just given birth or who were about to give birth, and he was digitally penetrating them, he was groping their breasts and pretending he was doing this for some professional medical purpose, which clearly he was not," said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Arnaud faces 13 years is prison, but police need to find him first.

Arnaud fled just before the jury returned with the guilty verdict.

Anyone with information is urged to call 911 or the Orange County District Attorney's Office at (714) 834-3600.

 

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