Despite pleas from his victim that he be sent to jail, a Navy serviceman was spared any immediate time behind bars and instead given probation Wednesday for molesting a family member who lived with him in Long Beach.
Jurors convicted Edward Prosinski, 37, earlier this month on one misdemeanor count of sexual battery for sneaking into the 18-year-old woman’s bedroom, climbing into her bed and groping her, according to prosecutors.
“As he ‘spooned’ her and placed the front of his body against the back of hers, he reached up under her shirt and placed his hand over her breast. He left his hand there for 10 minutes,” prosecutors wrote in court documents that described the July 2017 sexual assault.
The woman said this type of abuse had gone on for years. As she addressed the judge Wednesday, she described crying as Prosinski told her to take her clothes off under the pretext of examining her for cancerous tumors.
“For the last six years he did not care what he was doing to me,” she said.
However, Prosinski faced only two counts of sexual battery at trial because authorities could not narrow down the alleged abuse to specific enough dates to file charges, according to prosecutors. And of those two charges, jurors found him guilty of only one.
Prosinski looked straight ahead, occasionally shaking his head slightly as the family member spoke quietly from behind a lectern in a Long Beach courtroom Wednesday.
“Because of Edward I can barely function,” she said, her voice sometimes wavering, sometimes monotonous. “I don’t want to get up in the morning.”
She said she wished Prosinski could be locked away for a decade or more. But the maximum jail sentence he could have received was 180 days, prosecutor Emily Cohen said.
Even if the judge immediately ordered him into custody, Prosinski likely would have been freed the same day because of jail overcrowding, according to the Long Beach City Prosecutor’s office, which handled the case.
Instead of sentencing him to a short stint behind bars, Long Beach Superior Court Judge Chet L. Taylor gave Prosinski three years of probation and threatened to impose the 180 days in jail for even the most minor violation of that probation.
“It was not an easy case,” Taylor said.
He also ordered Prosinski to register as a sex offender, complete 65 days of community service, complete a one-year therapy program and pay for any counseling his victim is receiving.
Anywhere else in the country Prosinski’s crime would’ve been a felony, Cohen said as she argued for the harshest possible penalty.
“This is probably one of the most serious misdemeanor crimes that exists,” she said.
Prosinski’s attorney argued that his client was being punished in other ways as well.
Because of the conviction, Prosinski will be discharged from the Navy, losing his salary and pension, defense attorney Ron Hall said.
“It’s going to be very difficult for a registered sex offender to get future employment,” Hall said.
Hall said Prosinski should be given some leniency because he’d so far lived an “exemplary, very productive life” that includes his career in the Navy and caring for a family at a young age.
In court documents, prosecutors argued Prosinski’s crime was especially abhorrent because he had a duty to care for his family member, but instead, he took advantage of her while her relationship with her mother deteriorated.
“There was also testimony and text messages that corroborated the defendant was bribing [her] with money to let him touch her,” prosecutors wrote in court documents. “Text messages indicated that ‘If you commit, then I will commit.’ [The victim] testified defendant meant if she allowed him to touch her breasts, he would pay for her car insurance. Defendant first said commitment meant family, but later changed his story.”
Prosinski was also ordered to have absolutely no contact with the woman he molested, but prosecutors said they feared he’d nevertheless continue in a pattern of sexual abuse. He still lives with another female family member who is about the same age as the victim in this case, they wrote in court documents.
Editor’s note: The Long Beach Post is withholding the identity of the family member Prosinski was convicted of sexually abusing.
Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor of the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @jeremiahdobruck on Twitter.
Free news isn’t cheap.
We believe that everyone should have access to important local news, for free.
However, it costs money to keep a local news organization like this one—independently owned and operated here in Long Beach, without the backing of any national corporation—alive.
If independent local news is important to you, please consider supporting us with a monthly or one-time contribution. Read more.