A Fullerton man who secretly ejaculated twice into an attractive co-worker's water bottle — that she later drank from — was convicted Thursday of two counts of misdemeanor battery.
After about two hours of deliberating, the seven-woman, five-man jury also found true a sentencing enhancement allegation that Michael Kevin Lallana committed the crime for sexual gratification.
Lallana, 32, faces up to a year in jail when he is to be sentenced April 22. Judge Walter Schwarm could also make him register as a sex offender, although he was allowed to remain free on bail until sentencing.
The victim, identified as Tiffany G. in court, cried after the verdict was read and a sheriff's deputy brought her tissues. She declined comment.
Lallana's attorney, Eduardo Madrid, said he may appeal the conviction.
"My view is no crime was committed," Madrid said outside court. "He committed an outrageous, egregious act, but to have battery, you have to have an application of force."
Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon declined to comment after the verdict, but during closing arguments he said Lallana left the bottle on the desk of his co-worker "as a trap."
Lallana and Tiffany started working together at Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Newport Beach. Last year they were both transferred to the company's office in Orange.
She testified that while working in Newport Beach, she left her water bottle at work on a Friday in January 2010, and when she returned on Monday, she took a swig and noticed a foul taste that seemed like semen, so she threw out the bottle.
After moving to the new office in Orange, she again tasted semen in her water last April 6. She said that after the second incident, she took the bottle to a laboratory to have it tested, because Orange police told her they could not open an investigation on speculation of a crime, and her superiors at work did not know what to do about it.
When the test showed there was semen in the water, Orange detectives started questioning the company's employees.
Lallana was initially evasive but eventually told detectives he put his semen in the water bottle because "her lips had touched" it.
"I saw her water bottle and I did it," Lallana says on a tape of the police interview. "For me, it's a release. I think about my wife."
He also said in the interview that he found Tiffany attractive.
A defense expert witness, psychologist Ellen Stein, testified that Lallana has a narcissistic personality disorder and the maturity of a 16-year-old. Stein also said Lallana was known in his family as a prankster and could have done it as a joke, not for sexual gratification.
"There's no evidence at all that Mr. Lallana was getting off ... from watching her drink from the bottle," Madrid said. "The masturbation had already taken place. The sexual act was over."
Madrid noted that while being questioned by police, Lallana asked if he could get arrested, indicating he "didn't understand the consequences of his act."
He said that even if Tiffany did not drink the water, what Lallana did was still a crime.
Two counts of misdemeanor assault were automatically dropped because state law prevents a defendant from getting two convictions for the same action, Zimmon said.
Tiffany filed a civil complaint against her employer, which was later resolved, but did not file one against Lallana.