Child abuse charges against the founder of a San Francisco-based tech company were dropped Monday after prosecutors found he was not aware of his actions in an October incident in which he punched and beat his 1-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son and father, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Hillsborough resident Zainali Jaffer, 30, was cleared of the accusations Monday after prosecutors met with Jaffer’s defense counsel, consulted with their own experts and determined a combination of medications made him lose consciousness of his actions in the early-morning hours of Oct. 15, according to prosecutors.
Jaffer, founder and former CEO of Vungle, a mobile advertising company, expressed gratitude to the District Attorney’s Office for carefully reviewing the facts of his case and dismissing several felony charges previously filed against him, including oral copulation with a child, assault and child abuse. He was fired from the company less than a day after company officials learned of the allegations, according to prosecutors.
Jaffer said he never abused his children, sexually or otherwise, and never committed any crimes.
“Being wrongfully accused of these crimes has been a terrible experience, which has had a deep and lasting impact on my family and the employees of my business,” he said in a press release. “Those closest to me knew I was innocent and were confident that all the charges against me would eventually be dismissed.”
On Oct. 15, police arrived at Jaffer’s home on the 1000 block of Lancaster Road and were guided to his location in the home by his father, who was bleeding from injuries inflicted by his son and called 911. Officers found Jaffer on top of his 3-year-old son, and he allegedly started choking his son with his legs when officers tried to arrest him, according to prosecutors previously.
Jaffer allegedly resisted officers, spitting on one before he was arrested. Police determined Jaffer had also punched his 1-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son before using what his defense counsel and prosecutors would later call jiu-jitsu holds on the toddler. His wife was allegedly on a business trip on the East Coast when the incident happened, according to prosecutors.
Though prosecutors believed the charges they initially levied against Jaffer were warranted based on his actions, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said a team from his office met with Jaffer’s defense counsel for several hours to hear the evidence they planned to use in his defense. Though prosecutors initially thought Jaffer may have been under the influence of LSD, they learned an analysis of the combined effects of medications he was on had not been done and had resulted in behavior of which he was not conscious. Wagstaffe added because the family was trained in martial arts, Jaffer was executing jiu-jitsu holds on his son and was not sexually motivated.
Wagstaffe said an expert confirmed the combination of the medications could result in loss of consciousness and another confirmed holds in which Jaffer was holding his son were jiu-jitsu holds. Wagstaffe emphasized the importance of dismissing charges in cases where there is insufficient evidence, and said he was proud of his team for examining the case and recognizing it was not supported by the facts.
“I’m proud of my team for doing justice today,” he said.
Jaffer said he appreciated that justice was served in his case, and hoped to help others who find themselves in similar situations, noting he was also very grateful for his wife and family’s support and looked forward to spending quality time with them. Jaffer had been out of custody on a $300,000 bail bond posted Oct. 26, 2017, according to prosecutors.
“I was incredibly fortunate that I was able to defend myself through the legal system, but I am aware that many others are not,” he said. “Moving forward, I plan on examining ways I can help others who are innocent and are seeking to obtain justice.”
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