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Sonoma man pleads guilty to groping charges

Published: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.

A Sonoma Valley man faces up to seven years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to groping five women and a teenage girl over a one-year period.

Samuel Johnson Lyons, 37, preyed on unsuspecting victims in Sonoma and Petaluma between September 2011 and August, prosecutors said.

In each case, they were caught off guard when Lyons grabbed their breasts or buttocks as they stood or walked in public places, prosecutors said.

He was arrested in August and pleaded guilty to a felony count of committing lewd and lascivious acts on a 14-year-old girl and four misdemeanor counts of sexual battery.

In addition to possible prison time, Lyons will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. His sentencing is Jan. 14.

His lawyer, Steve Gallenson, said the former Peace Corps worker is remorseful and undergoing therapy.

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