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Former Mayor Pleads No Contest in Grindr Child Sex Crime Case

Former Mayor Pleads No Contest in Grindr Child Sex Crime Case

Photo of Robert Jacob

Ex-politician and cannabis entrepreneur Robert Jacob of California admits to blindfolding and abusing the boy with other men.

California cannabis entrepreneur and former Sebastopol mayor Robert Jacob last week pleaded no contest to six felony charges involving sex with an underaged boy he met on Grindr.

Jacob was accused of exchanging nude photos and engaging in sex acts with a child who was under the age of 15 at the time. On multiple occasions, he reportedly blindfolded the boy and had other unnamed men have sex with the minor. In a plea deal with prosecutors, six other charges were dropped. Jacob faces up to seven years in prison.

The unnamed teen, now 16, told investigators he met Jacob sometime in late 2019 or early 2020 using Grindr, the gay dating and hookup app. In a pretrial hearing last March, the Press Democratreported the teen testified he eventually revealed his age to Jacob, and then went on to describe for the court how their relationship intensified afterward. He said the pair exchanged nude photos and that the former mayor directed the victim to address him as “sir” and “master” because it made Jacob “sexually aroused” and “feel like he was in control.”

The teen also described how their relationship turned more sexual once the pair met in person for the first time. He said on at least two separate occasions Jacob had left “a step-by-step process of what to do when I arrived” at the former mayor’s house such as where to undress and how to stow his clothing. The victim also said Jacob would often blindfold him during sex and bring other unidentified men to engage in sexual acts with the teen. The teen said he did not see the men and was only allowed to respond “yes” or “no” in response to them.

The victim said he was paid about $75 by Jacob following these assaults. He said he told his parents he was working for Jacob walking his dog and doing other chores. Their relationship ended, the teen testified, in March 2021 after Jacob sent a text saying he had confessed to his husband who reportedly disapproved.

A tip about the relationship was received by child protective services in March of last year, which was then relayed to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. It is unclear if the tip came from the victim, his family, or Jacob’s husband.

Three of the charges were dropped following the pretrial hearing last year. Jacob was arrested the following month and held on $620,000 bail. He pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges at a hearing in May, where he was released on the conditions he wear a GPS device, not leave the state, and make no contact with minors.

Jacob was a founder of the medical marijuana dispensary Peace in Medicine and was elected to the Sebastopol City Council from 2012 to 2016. He was selected as mayor by his colleagues in 2013, one of the first mayors nationwide with a background in the budding cannabis industry. He left the council in 2016 and became a caretaker for his mother.

Jacob will be formally sentenced on March 23.

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