A Bellflower man was sentenced to 29 years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenager and two women, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced Tuesday.
Joshua Dwight Cooper, 20, committed a string of sexual assaults in August. Two of those assaults targeted a woman and teenage girl within an hour and a half of each other, according to investigators and prosecutors. Cooper will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Cooper pleaded no contest to one count each of assault with the intent to commit rape, assault with the intent to commit rape on a minor with a great bodily injury allegation, forcible oral copulation and forcible sodomy, according to the district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said Cooper’s first attack occurred sometime in August, when he sexually assaulted a 42-year-old woman walking near the Bellflower Courthouse. Later that month, Cooper approached a 29-year-old woman who was walking to her home in Bellflower, sexually assaulted her and took her cellphone.
The woman was pushing a stroller with two infants, but Cooper tried to pin her down and repeatedly said, “Kiss me,” according to L.A. Deputy Dist. Atty. Chad Gillette. The woman was able to fight him off, pulled her phone out and threatened to call police. He ran away with her phone, Gillette said.
The same day, about an hour and a half later, Cooper jumped a fence at Lakewood High School, where classes were underway, and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl when she went to use the restroom, prosecutors said.
In that case, Cooper tried to take off the girl’s clothes. The girl told him her friends were on their way to check on her, and Cooper fled. Cooper was arrested Sept. 1, the day after the last two assaults.
Prosecutors said that, a month before the attacks, Cooper broke into a Santa Fe Springs apartment and left when he was confronted by someone. In that case, he pleaded no contest to one count of residential burglary.
“I commend the bravery of the victims who all came forward,” Gillette said. “I’m glad that they got some level of justice here.”