A former San Jose police officer from Gilroy charged with molesting two underage teen boys will serve eight months of house arrest with an ankle monitor, a sentence that “disappointed” prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Stuart Scott after he requested the maximum sentence of three years, eight months in state prison.
Judge Kenneth Shapero presided over the sentence hearing, which took place Wednesday afternoon inside the South County Courthouse at 301 Diana Ave. in Morgan Hill.
D’Arrigo, 44, is charged with two counts of unlawful sexual contact with two teen boys, which occurred between December 2008 to March 2009.
Following the eight months of home incarceration, the former veteran SJPD cop – who once served as campus officer at a San Jose high school – will be on probation for three years and be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Wednesday marks the third and final sentence hearing for D’Arrigo, whose initial April 30 sentence date had already been re-scheduled twice.
Standing outside the courtroom after the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Stuart Scott – who prosecuted the sex scandal case since it erupted in August 2011 – said he was “disappointed” with the sentence.
As someone with an “obligation to society,” D’Arrigo is “definitely someone who should have known better,” said Scott, in his final statement to Judge Shapero. “But when the time came and he stood before that abyss, he jumped in.”
In retrospect, however, Scott also pointed out “that this defendant has pled guilty to charges that make him a sex offender for the rest of his life. He has forfeited his job, lost his career, lost his livelihood – he’s already in a position where he has suffered great penalties for his conduct.”
Prior to doling D’Arrigo’s punishment, Judge Shapero said he struggled with the idea of incarceration being served at home, where everyday comforts such as electronic appliances or even a “refrigerator” are readily available.
D’Arrigo’s house at 883 Alder St. in Gilroy is also where he engaged in sexual activities with the two teens, according to court documents.
In determining whether D’Arrigo should spend his sentence “sitting in a cell” or holed up inside his home, Shapero said his final ruling was influenced by budget constraints and the fact D’Arrigo is not a high-risk offender.
Shapero also told D’Arrigo that his background as a law officer “should have raised enough red flags,” and that D’Arrigo violated the trust of the public and the two teen victims.
Back in early May, Shapero postponed the sentence hearing once again so the probation department could obtain victim impact statements; something Shapero wanted to read before determining D’Arrigo’s fate.
The statements ended up being “relatively supportive of the defendant,” said Scott.
Basically, that’s a “good thing for (D’Arrigo),” Scott explained, prior to the hearing.
In his closing statement to Judge Shapero, D’Arrigo’s attorney Brian Madden touched on this “unique” case with facts that are “extraordinarily unusual.”
Reading a small excerpt from the probation report, Madden said neither victims were “vulnerable” or suffered physical or financial harm.
“I’ve had hundreds of these cases,” noted Madden. “And I can’t think of any other case where victims were described this way.”
Be that as it may, “no matter how they outline it, there has been an impact on them,” Shapero replied several minutes later. “Emotional harm is rather difficult to measure, but they suffered as victims and that is relevant to the court’s decision.”
Throughout the investigation, Scott described the victims as “reluctant to participate in the whole process – which his understandable.”
Hesitation to cooperate and “not wanting things to come to light” is “not uncommon” with sensitive cases such as this, Scott noted. “That’s why we try to have anonymity for the victims.”
No more victims have come forward since the last hearing, according to Scott.
While Madden said he doesn’t excuse or justify his client’s actions, he characterized D’Arrigo as someone who “suffered an incredible lapse of judgment.”
Now that D’Arrigo has lost his career, retirement, benefits and is ordered to permanently register as a sex offender, Madden feels probation and electronic monitoring are an “appropriate” punishment.
Several members of D’Arrigo’s family were present at the hearing, but said they had “zero” comments to offer when approached by the Dispatch.
When asked if he was surprised by Shapero’s ruling, Scott said he wasn’t sure of what was going to happen.
“Ultimately, our job is to seek justice. The biggest issue in this case is how do we treat someone like this defendant who is a police officer?” he said. “(D’Arrigo) has chosen to put on a badge, swear an oath and protect the people. And he has violated that. We hold him to a higher standard.”
According to court records, that higher standard fell to the wayside when D’Arrigo met a teenage boy through Craigslist in December 2008.
That teenage boy later introduced D’Arrigo to the alleged victims, a 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy.
D’Arrigo bought gifts for the two teens, including a $300 iPod in 2008. And it was between December 2008 and January 2009 that he had several parties at his Alder Street home in Gilroy – where he provided alcohol to four teen boys and engaged in sexual activities with two of them.
The teens testified they had conversations with D’Arrigo about their ages, including where they went to school and what grades they were in.
“He knew,” testified one of the victims, referred to only as “Marc Doe,” during a secret Aug. 30 grand jury hearing that lasted more than two hours and cemented D’Arrigo’s indictment, arrest and raid on his home by police the following day.
When asked if D’Arrigo also knew the boys’ ages, Marc Doe testified, “Yeah. Due to his profession, you know, he should know.”
The booze and sex episodes descended from a friendship sparked on an ad in the fall of 2008, when D’Arrigo responded to a posting in the male-seeking-male category authored by a 16-year-old Gilroy boy, according to the boy’s testimony.
The four teen boys testified in August in front of a secret grand jury and an indictment was handed out Aug. 31, 2011. D’Arrigo was arrested on a $100,000 warrant Aug. 31, 2011 by the San Jose Police Department, the same day his home in Gilroy was searched by the Gilroy Police Department. He posted bail the following morning.
On Sept. 2, 2011 D’Arrigo originally pleaded “not guilty” to all three counts.
D’Arrigo’s last day with the San Jose Police Department was Feb 28. 2012 according to Tom Norris, the City of San Jose public records manager. He served as a sworn officer for 17 years. Norris said D’Arrigo was not listed as a retiree in the city’s retirement system and is not drawing any benefits.
In 2008, a criminal grand jury declined to indict D’Arrigo and SJPD Sgt. Will Manion following accusations they attempted to cover up a DUI incident involving Sandra Woodall, an investigator with the DA’s office. D’Arrigo and Manion were fired in January 2010 for their roles in the investigation, but were reinstated following arbitration.
D’Arrigo had been on administrative leave from SJPD since he was arrested in Aug. 31. While on leave, he continued to receive paychecks toward his $97,198 base salary.
D’Arrigo’s last day with the San Jose Police Department was Feb 28. 2012 according to Tom Norris, the City of San Jose public records manager. D’Arrigo served as a sworn officer for 17 years. Norris confirmed Wednesday that D’Arrigo is not listed as a retiree in the city’s retirement system and is not drawing any benefits.