A Lancaster man was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting four women dating back to 2009, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
James Smith, 35, was arrested Monday after allegedly kidnapping a 19-year-old Antelope Valley College student who was walking to the campus, taking her to a nearby abandoned house then sexually assaulting her.
The woman ran to a neighbors home after the assault, according to the Jackson family.
“I’m guessing he’s been scoping out the neighborhood,” Annice Jackson said. “Because the next door neighbor, they just moved out not too long ago. So of course he knew no one was living there.”
Authorities located Smith less than two hours after the attack, sitting in a green Buick that had been described by multiple victims.
Authorities believed Smith was connected to three previous sexual assaults. He was charged Wednesday with two counts of forcible rape, and one count each of forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, sodomy by use of force and attempted sodomy by use of force, the DA’s office stated in a news release.
Smith was charged with assaulting a 20-year-old woman on Dec. 24, 2009, a 43-year-old woman on Sept. 24, 2011, and a 33-year-old woman on March 23, 2012, in addition to the 19-year-old victim, the DA’s office stated.
He had been fingerprinted in 2012 for the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Palmdale, but was not formally charged because investigators later could not locate the woman, Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Brian Hudson told KTLA Tuesday.
In the Palmdale case and two others preceding Thursday’s assault, authorities believe Smith lured the women into his car rather than taking them by force, Hudson said.
“It changed dramatically. He actually came up from behind this victim and dragged her into his vehicle. We’re just glad to have what we consider a very dangerous predator off the streets,” Hudson said.
Smith was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at the criminal court building in downtown Los Angeles.
Prosecutors planned to request his bail be increased from $1 million to $5.1 million.
If convicted, Smith faced life in prison, according to the DA’s office.