Former Santa Ana city councilman sentenced to a year in jail

Former Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante was sentenced to a year in jail Friday on charges that included attempted sexual battery and grand theft.

Bustamante, who also had served as an executive manager for Orange County, pleaded guilty in December to attempted sexual battery, stalking, assault and false imprisonment.

Prosecutors had accused Bustamante of assaulting seven female county employees between 2003 and 2011 while working at the Orange County Public Works Department.

The sentence, part of a plea agreement, was imposed by Orange County Superior Court Judge John Conley. 

Conley ordered Bustamante to register as a sex offender.

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The judge allowed Bustamante to remain free while a jail is found in which he can serve his sentence.

Bustamante's lawyer, Brent Romney, said he expects his client to serve 6 months under good-behavior rules. He did not say what his client planned to do afterward.

"He'll be fine," Romney said. "He'll move forward. He'll be a perfect probationer."

Along with the crimes against the female county employees, Bustamante pleaded guilty to stealing about $3,000 from the county to pay for classes at Harvard.

In remarks to the judge before sentencing, James Harman, assistant county counsel, described Bustamante as "the local poster child for abuse of power."

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"What is the dollar value of increased public cynicism?" Harman said.

The judge ordered Bustamante to surrender himself in late February to begin serving his sentence.


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