While seated in a packed North County courtroom, a man who admitted he attacked a 7-year-old girl outside a Solana Beach elementary school two years ago was sentenced Wednesday, May 31, to more than 10 years in prison.
Jack Henry Doshay, 24, pleaded guilty in March to one count of kidnapping and one count of assault with intent to commit child molestation stemming from the 2015 incident.
Vista Superior Court Judge Timothy Casserly sentenced Doshay to the 10-year, four-month prison term stipulated in his plea agreement and ordered the defendant to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
He’ll have to serve 85 percent of that time, less any custody credits he’s earned, before he can be released.
After some debate from the lawyers, the judge said he was mandated under state law to give Doshay credit for the more than 790 days spent in a residential treatment facility, where he had undergone psychiatric treatment.
Until Wednesday, May 31, Doshay had been out of custody on $5 million bail.
Doshay’s lawyers said their client has changed significantly since the offense. They said he was “a troubled young man” at the time, one who suffered from severe depression and an autism spectrum disorder known as Asperger’s syndrome. He has tried to commit suicide several times, they said.
“He’s had two years of treatment, six days a week,” said defense attorney James Pokorny. “The Jack Doshay that’s sitting here today is not the Jack Doshay that did this awful act two years ago.”
Outside the courtroom, defense attorney Paul Pfingst said Doshay had been a “psychiatric disaster” but made a remarkable transformation as a result of a proper diagnosis and treatment.
“Sometimes mental illness is something that can be relieved with proper diagnosis and care. … The act that was committed two years ago by a severely mentally ill person is a horrendous act. That’s why there’s such a serious penalty,” Pfingst said.
“The good news, if there can be any out of this, is that with proper diagnosis, care, treatment and medication, the person (who existed) two years ago exists no more,” he said.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Doshay attacked the girl outside Skyline Elementary School in Solana Beach the afternoon of March 23, 2015, shortly after school had ended for the day.
Doshay, who was dressed in baseball clothes, approached the girl, put packing tape over her mouth and moved her to a secluded area near the back of the school.
The girl fought back and she got away.
“We’re relieved that he finally admitted what he did,” Deputy District Attorney Ryan Saunders said after the sentencing hearing.
The prosecutor explained that the defendant’s conviction makes him eligible for civil commitment under California’s sexually violent predator laws, meaning there’s a possibility he could be confined at a state hospital after he completes his prison sentence.
The determination of whether he fits the predator criteria, as defined by the state, would be made later under a separate court process.
Doshay had also faced charges related to an alleged attack in 2010 on a young girl outside Solana Santa Fe Elementary School in Rancho Santa Fe.
A judge dismissed those charges, citing questions about whether Doshay matched the description of the attacker and whether a sheriff’s deputy who first investigated the incident believed any crime had occurred.
The young victim in the 2015 incident attended the sentencing hearing with her family on Wednesday but did not make a statement in court. In March, she told reporters she believed the judge had made the right decision to put Doshay behind bars.
“I’m glad police caught him and he’s going to prison now so I don’t ever have to see him again,” she said.
--Dana Littlefield is a writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune