Originally published July 27, 2019
A Solano County Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced to more than 11 years behind bars a former Travis Air Force Base psychologist found guilty last fall of a series of felony sexual assaults on female patients and three misdemeanor counts.
After hearing victim impact testimony and statements from attorneys — but before pronouncing the prison term — Judge E. Bradley Nelson looked directly at Heath Jacob Sommer, 43, saying he took a version of exposure therapy “to a new level” and used his “position of trust” between 2014 and 2016 to repeatedly take advantage of “very vulnerable people,” female patients who sought his help to cope with previous sexual trauma while on active duty.
And following a statement from Sommer — “I apologize … I never intended to be offensive to people,” he said — Nelson enumerated the counts, noting the second one, rape, would account for the greatest number of years, eight, in state prison, with two other felonies, oral copulation by fraudulent representation and sexual battery by fraudulent means, filling out the balance.
Nelson added 18 months in Solano County Jail for three misdemeanor charges of sexual battery for the purpose of sexual arousal. He then credited Sommer, shackled at the waist in a striped jail jumpsuit and displaying no visible reaction to the sentence, with 904 days in custody. Additionally, Sommer will be required to serve 20 years probation upon release, register as a sex offender for life, and pay nearly $10,000 in restitution to the victims and other court costs.
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