The man seen in video violently pushing a real estate agent to the ground "did not do so with an intent to harm," according to his family, who said he has an intellectual disability that affected his conduct.
Alen Karaboghosian, 45, was arrested Tuesday night and booked for assault with a deadly weapon — namely, bodily force — in the recorded incident Sunday at an Encino open house. Since the video was made public, other agents have identified Karaboghosian as the person who suddenly groped them at open houses before running off.
"We are not condoning or denying him having pushed the Realtor, but the rest of the allegations being made against him are irrational and exaggerated," reads a statement provided to NBC4 by the Karaboghosian family Thursday afternoon.
Karaboghosian remains jailed while his family makes arrangements to post the required bail of $130,000. Prosecutors have yet to reach a decision on bringing formal charges. He is scheduled to appear in criminal court Friday morning.
The agent in the Sunday incident and two others have said Karaboghosian's comments and behavior at open houses made them feel uncomfortable. The victim Sunday went outside and told Karaboghosian to leave. His family contends that frightened him.
"His mental disability has impaired his ability to stay calm in an emergency, causing him to become confused and not know how to act appropriately," reads the family statement.
However, the real estate agents — who asked not to be identified — said the way Karaboghosian ran off after groping told them he understands right from wrong.
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Karaboghosian lives with his parents in their home, spends time in his brother's cabinet making shop, and likes to visit open houses, a family member said. He does not drive, but walks or rides a bike.
He has also come under investigation for another incident two weeks ago. A police report was filed after an expectant mother within a month of her due date said she was on the sidewalk when a man she now recognizes as Karaboghosian rode up from behind and while passing grabbed her buttocks, then made sexual comments.
Family of Karaboghosian said he has been receiving services from the North Los Angeles County Regional Center, a contractor for California's Department of Developmental Services.
Intellectual disability can, but does not necessarily, render a criminal defendant not competent to stand trial, and can also become the basis for a defense of diminished capacity, also called diminished actuality. In some cases, a convict with an intellectual disability may be remanded to a conventional prison. If determined to pose a danger to self or others, there can also be placement for treatment in the secure portion of California's Porterville Developmental Center.
The following is a complete statement released by the Karaboghosian family:
I am speaking on behalf of Alen's family. Alen's mind does not function at the level of an adult's, and it is important to understand the symptoms and implications of mental health before being so quick as to judging a man's character and intentions. We are not condoning or denying him having pushed the Realtor, but the rest of the allegations being made against him are irrational and exaggerated. Even if he touched one's shoulder or grabbed an arm or even hugged, he did not do so with an intent to harm and certainly did not sexually assault. We are aware of the fine line between socializing, being friendly, and harassing, however Alen has a mental disability, which hinders his judgment. He lacks the mental capacity to differentiate right from wrong and cannot communicate his wants and needs appropriately. Alen is unaware of how to appropriately act in a given social situation, at times being overly friendly and lacking the ability to distinguish between friend and stranger. As previously mentioned, Alen has the kindest heart and will jump at any occasion to help someone in need. Unfortunately, his mental disability has impaired his ability to stay calm in an emergency, causing him to become confused and not know how to act appropriately.