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California Prosecutor Used His Own 13-Year-Old Daughter As Bait To Catch Man Who Allegedly Sexually Assaulted Her

San Jose Police Department

An investigation that placed a child molester in jail raised ethical questions when the prosecutor used his own 13 year-old daughter as bait.

The prosecutor, who is anonymous for now, practices at the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office. He planned for his daughter to return to the location where she had been molested by a man three times previously, in an attempt to collect evidence.

The prosecutor gave his daughter very specific instructions if she were to encounter the man who had touched her. He told her to talk to the man if he approached and to allow him to touch her if he attempted to do so.

However, if he tried to touch her breasts or in-between her legs, she was instructed to leave the scene immediately.

His daughter walked up and down the same path where she used to regularly walk her dog. The prosecutor began recording a video when the man eventually appeared.

The man attempted to touch her. There was enough evidence against him for attempting to touch a minor under the age of fourteen. He was later arrested and jailed with a three-million-dollar bail.

The man was identified as Ali Mohammed Lajmiri, age 76. He was charged with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious behavior against a minor, as well as attempts at false imprisonment.

The question at hand now, however, is the moral ramifications of the prosecutor’s decision to take this investigation upon himself as well as to use his daughter as a means to collect evidence against the man.

The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office intends to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. The investigation was outsourced to the California Attorney General’s office to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

Jeffrey Rosen, the lead attorney at Santa Clara, stated: 

“The moment we became aware of this matter, we took immediate action, referring it to the Attorney General’s Office and initiating our own internal review. As prosecutors, we must never forget that our own behavior – inside and outside of the courtroom – matters. The choices we make in our professional and personal lives need to be in harmony with the protocols, laws, and ethics of our criminal justice system. Swirling media attention, talk, opinions, and gossip can lead people to forget that at the heart of this matter is a young victim.” 

While attempting to collect evidence against Lajmiri, lines were clearly crossed as the prosecutor’s daughter was repeatedly exposed to the man’s behaviors. The prosecutor and his wife also questionably took videos and photos on multiple occasions and even followed Lajmiri home to acquire his home address.

In the report filed by the Attorney General’s Office, it reads:

“[The prosecutor] directed [the victim] to let [the suspect] touch her if she encountered him, but if it was the breast or between the legs to move away. He instructed [the victim] to let [the suspect] to identify and make the contact and if she cannot handle things she should move away. He instructed [the victim] to walk back and forth on the designated route and don’t interact with anyone for very long.”

To make matters worse, the prosecutor stated he asked his daughter to engage with Lajmiri for the purpose of gathering evidence multiple times. He also admitted to repeatedly losing sight of his daughter while he was recording video of the man walking with her.

As the investigation went public, Twitter was overwhelmed with angry feelings toward the prosecutor and the lack of protection for his daughter throughout this process.

The Attorney General’s Office’s investigation of the matter in coordination with Santa Clara’s internal investigation is ongoing.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.