The California Supreme Court refused today to review the case against a prominent geneticist who was convicted of molesting a girl he had mentored and taught karate at his San Marino home.
Willian French Anderson -- who has been hailed as "the father of gene therapy'' -- was convicted in July 2006 of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14 and three counts of committing a lewd act with a child under the age of 14.
The crimes occurred between March 1999 and December 2001. The scientist was sentenced in February 2007 to 14 years in state prison, with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor calling Anderson's conduct "egregious."
"Dr. Anderson is brilliant, sophisticated, worldly and he is a manager and administrator used to making tough decisions. He made the conscious decision to continue to engage in the most reprehensible conduct," the judge said at Anderson's sentencing hearing. Anderson met the girl after her family moved from China to South Pasadena and her mother began working at the lab he founded, Gene Therapy Laboratories at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
"He got access to me through karate, self-defense. He stripped away from me my innocence, my family and my childhood through a pretense of teaching me self-empowerment,'' the young woman said at Anderson's sentencing.
She reported the molestation to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 2004. Anderson -- who was charged in July 2004 and then indicted in January 2005 -- resigned from USC after his July 2006 conviction. In a July 26 ruling, a three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Anderson's claim that there were errors in his trial.