A mistrial was declared Thursday after a Van Nuys jury reported that it was deadlocked in the case of a former mid-Valley YMCA bus driver charged with molesting two 5-year-old Van Nuys boys.
After deliberating for five days, jurors told Superior Court Judge Richard G. Kolostian that a unanimous verdict in the case of 29-year-old Zef Rubin Hochesier would be impossible. According to prosecutor Phillip Rabichow, the jury deadlocked 10 to 2 for acquittal.
Rabichow said he was uncertain whether the district attorney’s office would retry Hochesier, who was charged with two counts of child molestation that allegedly occurred in 1980 and 1981.
Hochesier’s trial originally began in June 1984, but was interrupted when Kolostian ruled that the two alleged victims could testify outside of the courtroom, on closed-circuit television. Rabichow argued before Kolostian that the two boys, both now 9 years old, were embarrassed to testify in open court.
Court Overturned Ruling
Defense attorney Richard Plotin appealed Kolostian’s ruling, and the ruling eventually was overturned by the California Court of Appeal.
That ruling, along with pleas from parents of children involved in the ongoing McMartin Pre-School trial, prompted State Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) to introduce legislation that would allow children 10 and younger to testify in child molestation trials on closed-circuit television.
The bill passed the State Senate and Assembly last week, and now awaits Gov. George Deukmejian’s signature. The governor has indicated that he intends to sign the bill.
Prosecutors said that the defendant, who now works as an insurance claims adjuster, molested one boy on a mid-Valley YMCA bus and the other inside the Van Nuys YMCA.
One of the boys, police said, was despondent after the alleged incidents and twice attempted to commit suicide by darting in front of speeding cars. When the boy was confronted by his mother, he told her of the alleged molestation, police said.