A Pacifica man accused of committing sex crimes against drugged men appeared in court Friday, just as police announced another five potential victims, including one minor, have come forward in the last week.
The District Attorney’s Office alleges Joseph Paul Courtney did not act alone and it’s believed there are multiple outstanding suspects who participated in sodomizing and videotaping three unconscious male victims.
Courtney, 31, was assigned an attorney through the private defender program Friday and is scheduled to return to court Aug. 11 to enter a plea, according to prosecutors. He remains in custody on $5 million bail.
Defense attorney Steve Chase said he does not believe the charges reflect his client’s behavior and noted Courtney and the complaining witnesses had socialized.
The Pacifica resident has been charged with 15 felonies including sodomy by force, sodomy of a drugged victim, oral copulation by force, possession of child pornography and robbery. He faces life in prison if convicted, according to prosecutors.
The charges relate to three incidents involving separate male victims whom Courtney allegedly met on May 12, 2015, Sept. 21, 2015, and Nov. 20, 2015, at his home and once at a Comfort Suites Motel, according to prosecutors.
In each of the crimes, Courtney arranged to have consensual sex with the victims but instead drugged them using GHB, commonly referred to as the “date rape drug.” Courtney and other men allegedly raped the unconscious victims, according to prosecutors. On one occasion, he showed the victim the video recording of the rape by multiple men, according to prosecutors.
He is also charged with one felony for possessing child pornography Dec. 14, 2015, according to prosecutors.
Police said Courtney had an extensive history of criminal sexual behavior and often used websites and smartphone apps to contact his victims.
Defense attorney Chase said he’s in the process of reviewing the case and that “Mr. Courtney is a lovely young man. He’s bright, he’s personable and I’m going to vigorously fight for him against these charges. … He is not the monster that any [district attorney] press release might make him out to be.”
Pacifica police announced Courtney’s arrest July 28 and Capt. Joe Spanheimer said another five victims, including one who was a minor during an alleged incident, have come forward in the last week.
“Since the initial press release we issued, several other victims have come forward,” Spanheimer said. “We’re fully committed to finding any and all victims that we can, as well as suspects … and we encourage any victim to come forward.”
Due to the ongoing investigation, Spanheimer said he could not comment on the possible identities or status of the investigation into potential accomplices.
Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said prosecutors would consider the ongoing information being gathered by police and it’s not uncommon for additional charges to be filed as more evidence is presented. Based on the videos obtained of the alleged crimes, it appears multiple accomplices were involved, Serrato said.
Serrato added the alleged accomplices could also be considered culpable for the same crimes.
“If we can identify them, I have no doubt that we could charge them with aiding and abetting,” Serrato said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pacifica police at (650) 738-7314 or the tip line at (650) 359-4444.