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Multiple convictions land Rocklin lawyer on suspension

A Placer County criminal defense attorney will lose his law license this month after pleading no contest to four of 20 charges against him. JONATHAN R. TYRELL, 38, of Rocklin will be placed on interim suspension Oct. 10 after pleading no contest in August to one count of forgery, possession of a controlled substance and battery with serious bodily injury. He also pleaded no contest in September to one count of misdemeanor child molestation.

Sixteen other counts were dropped as “Harvey waivers,” a legal procedure that allows the judge to consider the charges for sentencing purposes.

Placer County deputy district attorney Jeff Wilson said Tyrell faces a maximum sentence of seven years, four months in prison that includes two extra years because Tyrell agreed to an enhancement of committing a felony (drug possession) while out of jail on his own recognizance.

Sentencing was scheduled for Sept. 29.

Bar officials said the conviction for forgery makes Tyrell eligible for summary disbarment and they will seek that penalty once his conviction is final.

Tyrell, who has been a lawyer only since 2000, had been charged with 20 felonies and misdemeanors: three counts of forgery, forgery of an official seal, possession of a controlled substance, making criminal threats, battery with serious bodily injury (all felonies); possession of child pornography, eight counts of annoying a child, possession of a smoking pipe, vandalism, residential trespassing and submitting false evidence to the court.

Wilson said the charges covered more than a dozen incidents over the past year.

During the police investigation of forgery charges, they obtained a warrant to search Tyrell’s home, where they found evidence that led to his arrest on the drug and child molestation charges. Wilson said the molestation charges involved several acts against a 15-year-old boy in 2004. He said, however, that authorities believe Tyrell had multiple victims.

Annoying a child is a form of child molestation where no touching in involved, Wilson explained. He said police seized Tyrell’s computer and several videotapes of minors and adults, wearing swimsuits and submerged in a bathtub holding their breath. Wilson said the practice is a sexual fetish known as aquaphilia and he said his office believes Tyrell shot the videos “for his own sexual gratification.” He said the tapes were pornographic and were obtained either by hidden cameras placed in a minor’s bedroom and bathroom or were taken with the knowledge of the subjects.

Published reports in Placer County said Tyrell claimed he was conducting a scientific study and that the individuals involved were paid for their work.

Tyrell’s no contest plea to misdemeanor child molestation will require him to be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, Wilson said.

Tyrell was originally arrested after an assault in his apartment. Wilson said he bit Brian Lewandowski, 19, who police officers identified as both a former client and an employee of Tyrell. The victim was treated and released at the scene.

The days before the assault, Tyrell allegedly kicked in his neighbors’ door and entered their apartment, apparently believing the neighbors were listening to his conversations.

The forgery charge was the result of falsifying a court document. Tyrell admitted that he modified a charging document by substituting a name and adding different charges to a document already in his possession.

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