A Palmdale man ejaculated into tissue and then spread his semen on a co-worker’s computer mouse, in her honey jar and in half-consumed bottles of water on her desk in their La Palma office, a prosecutor told an Orange County Superior Court judge Thursday, while the defendant’s attorney said his client was motivated by revenge rather than sexual deviance.
Prosecutors said a hidden camera captured video of the suspect’s alleged actions.
Stevens Millancastro is charged with two counts of battery and three counts of assault, all misdemeanors. At issue in the non-jury bench trial before Judge Kathleen Roberts will be a sentencing enhancement allegation that he committed the crimes in late 2016 and early 2017 for the purpose of sexual gratification, which would require him to register as a sex offender if he’s convicted.
Millancastro and the woman, whose name was not publicly revealed, had worked together since 2014, Deputy District Attorney Laila Nikaien told the judge in her opening statement.
“The defendant actually trained the victim,” Nikaien said.
The woman testified that Millancastro started asking her out via an instant messaging system at work.
“He mentioned something about picking me up. I had no clue what he was talking about,” she testified. “He was basically asking me out to the movies. I said, no, I have a boyfriend.”
“Did he keep asking,” Nikaien asked.
“Yes,” the victim testified. “He would stare at me all day … in an uncomfortable way, a crazy way.”
At one point the defendant gave his co-worker a birthday gift, and continually leered at her during the work day, Nikaien said.
“The defendant would check her out from head to toe,” the prosecutor said. “He would stare at her when she walked to a printer… when she walked to a filing cabinet near her desk… It got so bad… she would wear a sweater around her waist… to prevent him from looking at her.”
Ultimately, she “made an informal complaint to her boss,” the prosecutor said. “He was told to stop, but he kept staring at her. To the point, about a month later… the victim filed a formal complaint with HR for the defendant incessantly staring at her.”
A short time later in November 2016, she noticed a half-consumed bottle of water she had left on her desk looked “cloudy,” so she threw it away, Nikaien said.
“A week after that she left another half drunken bottle of water open on her desk and when she comes back to work again the next day, the water is cloudy and she’s suspicious so she throws it away,” Nikaien said. “A week later she finds another bottle of half-drunken water on her desk and this time she opens it up.”
“It smelled like semen,” the alleged victim testified of the third water bottle found tainted on Jan. 9, 2017.
The woman’s “boss then had a team set up a surveillance camera next to the victim’s desk,” Nikaien said.
On Jan. 12, 2017, the surveillance camera captured the defendant after hours as he “grabbed some tissues and walked over to the bathroom… He masturbates to arousal, he ejaculates… then what we see next on surveillance is he’s holding up the crumpled tissue walking right to the victim’s desk.”
The defendant “smeared” his semen on his co-worker’s computer keyboard, her mouse and in her honey jar, which she would snack from, Nikaien said.
“She didn’t know he had ejaculated into her honey that she had been eating,” the prosecutor said.
The defendant faces three counts of assault for befouling the water bottles because the woman did not drink from them, while the battery charges are related to the honey jar and because she touched the computer mouse after it was vandalized, the prosecutor said.
Millancastro’s attorney, Michael Morrison of the Orange County Public Defender’s Office, said he would not dispute the “highly inappropriate behavior.”
The defense attorney said the “timing of the alleged attacks is very important for the court to consider.”
Millancastro had been working for the company for several years and considered it a “good job” despite a two-hour commute to and from work, Morrison said.
When the woman complained about his leering to human resources, “he got in a lot of trouble. He was in risk of losing his job and promotions,” Morrison said.
Millancastro’s girlfriend at the time was pregnant and he was under “a lot of stress” at the time, Morrison said.
The defendant was “watching pornographic images of some other women” when he masturbated in the office bathroom to produce the semen used in the attacks, Morrison said. “He’s not thinking about this alleged victim.”
Morrison said evidence “will help to show this truly was an act of revenge. The act itself of putting semen on items were not done for sexual gratification or sexual deviancy or a sexual purpose.”
Millancastro’s “sole purpose was seeking revenge,” Morrison said. “In the end we’re going to deny allegations… that he did it for sexual gratification or sexual compulsion.”