Lancaster man charged in sexual assaults of four women

Lancaster man charged in sexual assaults of four women

A Lancaster man arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 19-year-old female college student was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting three other women dating to 2009.

James Smith, 35, was charged with two counts of forcible rape and one count of forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, sodomy by use of force and attempted sodomy by use of force, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.  

Smith was arrested Monday after allegedly approaching a woman from behind on 33rd Street West about 2 p.m. He forced the woman into his vehicle and took her to an abandoned house, where he sexually assaulted her, sheriff's officials said in a statement.

Smith was also being held on suspicion of sexual assaults that occurred in the Los Angeles area on Dec. 24, 2009, Sept. 24, 2011, and March 23, 2012. The rape charges stem from the 2009 and 2011 encounters, according to the felony complaint.

Jane Robinson, a public information officer with the district attorney's office, declined to comment about how Smith was linked to the other attacks, citing an ongoing investigation.

His arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday. Prosecutors have asked that bail be set at $5.1 million. If convicted, Smith could face life in prison.

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