A 41-year-old man who wore a pink Barbie costume during an attack on a woman in the restroom of a clothing store was sentenced Friday to jail, choosing more time behind bars over a supervised release.
A jury convicted Gregory Phillip Schwartz of misdemeanor assault and felony false imprisonment stemming from a 2014 incident in a women's restroom of a Big Lots store in the Clairemont neighborhood of San Diego.
The victim testified that Schwartz, dressed in a Barbie costume, grabbed her, put his hand over her mouth and told her to be quiet. Instead she screamed.
He then fled the store after putting on men's clothing over the costume, which was caught on film by a surveillance camera. He was arrested several days later.
Schwartz's attorney said that his client had been drinking and using methamphetamine. A psychologist testified that some men receive sexual pleasure by wearing women's clothing.
The incident has left the victim no longer feeling safe in public places, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. Mary-Ellen Barrett.
Superior Court Judge Louis Hanoian rejected a request by Schwartz's attorney that his client be given probation, noting that Schwartz was already on probation for a drug offense when he committed the Big Lots attack.
Schwartz's continued use of drugs and alcohol kept him from fulfilling the terms of that probation, Hanoian said. "I have no reason to believe they are not going to re-occur," he said.
Hanoian had planned to sentence Schwartz to two years in jail and a year of supervised release. But Schwartz asked that the jail sentence be increased so that the supervised release would not be included.
Hanoian agreed, sentencing Schwartz to three years in jail. With credit for time served while awaiting trial, he will be eligible for release in approximately nine months, court officials said.