A San Francisco judge sentenced Bill Gene Hobbs to nearly six years behind bars after the serial stalker was convicted of sexual battery and assault, among other charges.
“Everybody in this town, man or woman, especially women, needs to feel safe,” Judge Harry Dorfman said. “This is not a case where Mr. Hobbs inappropriately touched one or two or three women. The jury returned verdicts as to nine separate cases.”
Hobbs was found guilty in May on eight counts, including one felony count of false imprisonment. He was accused of grabbing, following and harassing women on the streets of San Francisco.
Hobbs, who must now register as a sex offender, must serve time in county jail before being sent to prison.
Max Breecker, Hobbs’ attorney, expressed disappointment at the sentence, stating his client suffers from mental health issues and the sentence will not solve those problems.
“What are we going to accomplish by following what the prosecution and probation department reached, which is sentencing Mr. Hobbs to prison? It’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things,” Breecker said. “He will be released, and he will be on the streets of San Francisco, and we will be in the same position we are in today.”
For his part, Hobbs disagreed, stating to the court that “I have no mental health problems. It was a social problem.” Hobbs said he was trying to connect by tapping shoulders and hugging people.
Two victims made statements before the sentencing, detailing how being assaulted by Hobbs has changed their life.
“The assault I experienced has completely changed my life,” said one of the victims named Karina, who was attacked June 25, 2022. She said she withdrew from life, had night terrors and panic attacks after the incident, and still reacts when runners come past her.
“Wow, get over yourself,” interrupted Hobbs.
“What happened to me was not just a tap on the arm or waist. It was a violation,” she said in response, as Hobbs continued to interrupt her.
The second victim to speak said that she, too, has become more alert since the attack.
“I am one of many—one of many women who cannot stand, walk or run in public, who checks their locks one, two, three times before falling asleep,” another victim named Olivia said in her statement.
Hobbs first made headlines in 2021 after he was released for allegedly following and groping a 15-year-old, which prompted a group of women to come forward and accuse him of doing the same to them.
Hobbs’ felony conviction was linked to an incident where he wrapped a woman in a “bear hug” from behind and carried her 15 feet in the Marina District. No verdict was reached on two other misdemeanor charges.
While at least one alleged victim said the 6-foot-tall defendant has a look of “pure evil," his attorney argued that he suffered from mental illness and that his behavior wasn’t felonious.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org