A 26-year-old man who accepted a negotiated settlement for molesting a 9-year-old girl he snatched from a San Mateo elementary school restroom and trying to photograph four young female students using the restroom on a Daly City campus had “ample opportunity to reflect” on the decision, according to a judge Monday who refused to let him withdraw that plea.
Bradley Mrozek, 26, was adequately advised of his options and his no contest plea on multiple felonies in return for a straight 27-year-and-four-month prison term was “freely, knowingly and intelligently made,” Judge Craig Parson said.
Rather than face a life prison sentence if convicted, Mrozek pleaded no contest in November to one count of kidnapping, two counts of forcibly committing a lewd act on a child under 14 and one count of attempted child pornography possession. Sentencing has since been delayed several times, partially due to his later request to withdraw the plea.
Mrozek, of San Francisco, gave the court a written declaration that he was not given “sufficient” time to reflect on the plea and discuss it with his family.
Although there was no margin for change in the sentencing, the primary victim’s father first took the opportunity to tell Parson his daughter and the family still don’t feel safe and fear he will one day be released.
“Try to be in my shoes and see how it feels,” said the man identified only as Jane Doe’s father to protect her identity.
Mrozek “took my daughter away from me,” the father said, adding that she screams in the middle of the night and doesn’t want to go to school.
Prosecutors say mid-day Sept. 21, 2012, Mrozek trespassed onto the grounds of Parkside Elementary School in San Mateo and grabbed the girl on her way to the restroom. He groped the girl and covered her mouth with his hand before taking her off campus to a Taylor Street residence where she kicked and threw a rock at him to escape back to the school, according to San Mateo police.
Mrozek is also accused of offering vodka to two 12-year-old boys; verbally harassing two girls at Bayside STEM Academy; and was escorted off the Horrall Elementary School campus by a suspicious administrator. Both schools are in San Mateo.
After reading of Mrozek’s arrest, an official at George Washington Elementary School in Daly City contacted authorities about a March 2012 incident in which four 9-year-old girls reported seeing a flash from under the restroom stall as they used the facilities. The girls fetched a teacher who tried forcing the man from the stall. He finally ran from the restroom and fled.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, defense attorney Dek Ketchum contested some of probation report’s details, such as the mouth covering and rock throwing, which Parsons settled by attaching his memo to the documents. Ketchum also had attached a doctor’s evaluation on Mrozek’s use of alcohol and drugs at the time in question and his ability for treatment.
Mrozek did not make a statement in court but Ketchum said he is “I think, completely remorseful for what he did” although that does not negate his actions.
“He knows he can never make amends for what he did,” Ketchum said.
Mrozek has been in custody since his arrest last year and accumulated 616 days credit against his sentence. In addition to the prison time, Mrozek must also register as a sex offender for life.
But while Mrozek’s criminal case is essentially settled, his legal battles are not. The family of the girl are suing Mrozek and the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District for battery, sexual battery, child abuse, dangerous condition on public property, emotional distress and negligent supervision. The district has already denied a claim filed by the family.
The suit argues the school district knew or should have known Parkside was an open campus with no complete fencing and that what fences and gating it had was in need of repair. The district should also have known the school had no buddy system or other safety system in place for students going to the bathroom, the suit stated.
The school in its Feb. 10 reply to the lawsuit denies each allegation, states that the plaintiffs failed to exercise due care and claims the school district is immune from liability under the California government code.
A case conference is set in April.
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