Police impersonator sentenced to 30 yrs.

BELLFLOWER, Calif. /*Jonathan Gamond*/, 32, pleaded no contest June 24, to four felony counts, three for forced oral copulation, and one for sexual penetration with a foreign object.

Prosecutors say the martial arts coach drove up to two girls walking along the 12000 block of Gradwell Street in Lakewood on January 23, claiming to be a policeman. Investigators say he told the girls they were breaking curfew. He then knocked down one girl who refused to get into his SUV, and abducted the other. Detectives say he drove her to nearby Seal Beach and repeatedly sexually assaulted her. Gamond released her several hours later in Cerritos.

Gamond was arrested 13 days later, and jailed on $5 million bond.

Gamond's attorney, George F. Bird Jr., told Bellflower Superior Court Judge Leland H. Tipton Wednesday, that Gamond "did take responsibility for his actions by entering an early plea" that ensured the victim and her friend did not have to testify at a preliminary hearing and trial. He also noted that Gamond had apologized to the victim.

"He's expressed remorse for his actions ... Nothing he says today can take back the events of 175 days ago," said Bird.

Another of Gamond's attorneys, Andrew M. Stein, disputed that Gamond had impersonated an officer during the attack. But police refuted that claim.

"Both girls said he identified himself as a policeman. That's why they stopped. He said they were out after curfew," said Detective Joseph Tessari.

The victim's sister read a statement in court, saying she had been "waiting anxiously for this day" and that Gamond should be in prison "his whole life."

"Why didn't you stop when I begged you to and why did you do it?" she said in the statement.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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