“SAN JOSE — In courtrooms down the hall from each other Friday, two disgraced ex-cops were sentenced simultaneously for unrelated sex crimes.
Former Santa Clara police Sgt. Thomas Leipelt, 46, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and will have to register as a sex offender after being convicted of exposing himself in front of his girlfriend’s co-worker in the back room of a Santana Row boutique.
In a far more serious case, former San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy Galen Underwood was ordered to serve what is likely to be the rest of his life in prison for secretly molesting a female relative in Gilroy for 6 years, starting when she was 11. Underwood, 43, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison plus 38 years.
The two rare, life-changing dramas played out on the crowded third floor of the west wing of the Hall of Justice, where defendants accused of more minor offenses and their families milled about obliviously.
Underwood’s wife cried when Judge Vanessa A. Zecher imposed the mandatory sentence. In a case tried by prosecutor Chuck Gillingham and defense attorney Chuck Smith, Underwood was found guilty last summer of seven offenses, including aggravated sexual assault and assaulting the victim with the intent of committing sodomy and rape.
Underwood’s secret life surfaced in the fall of 2013, when the victim ended her years long ordeal by reporting the abuse to her guidance counselor. Three days later, Underwood, who lived in Gilroy, was arrested. He has been in custody ever since. He was fired by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department in 2014.
Down the hall, Leipelt covered his face to prevent a TV camera from capturing his reaction to the sentence pronounced by Judge Paul R. Bernal. The conviction also carries an automatic requirement that Leipelt register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He is eligible to petition the court to rescind the sex offender registration requirement after seven years, contingent on having a perfect probation record.
Hey look! It’s a two for
Hahaha! You scumbags got what you deserved
Couple of real heroes aren’t they?
Just a couple of bad apples right?
Not like there is anything wrong with the personality type of a guy who wants to wear a gun and control people for a living
The rest of them out there are regular everyday heroes risking their lives every day to stave off imminent anarchy
Regular domestic warriors keeping all of us safe
Just remember when ever you interact with one of them
It’s just a few bad apples