Man accused of groping San Diego State students pleads not guilty

Posted at 5:02 PM, Sep 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-05 20:02:21-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 19-year-old man accused of groping and sexually assaulting four female students as they walked to their off-campus housing near San Diego State University pleaded not guilty Tuesday to seven charges, including felony sexual battery and felony false imprisonment.

Minda Shewangizaw is also charged with trying to rape an acquaintance at UC Riverside -- where he is a student -- in May, said Deputy District Attorney Judy Taschner.

He faces seven years in prison if convicted.

RELATED: Man arrested for UC Riverside sexual assault days after SDSU arrest

The prosecutor alleged that Shewangizaw approached two students from behind just after midnight on Aug. 29, touching the buttocks of one victim under her shorts and pulling down the shirt and bra of the other.

They told campus police that their attacker ran into an alley behind the Aztec Corner Apartments on Montezuma Road.

About 45 minutes later, Shewangizaw approached two other students from behind and allegedly smacked one on the buttocks and pulled down the shirt and bra of the other, also grabbing her breast, Taschner alleged.

"It was very brazen," Taschner said outside court. "He didn't care how it was making them feel."

A half-hour later, while interviewing the alleged victims and witnesses, police spotted Shewangizaw and arrested him in the area, the prosecutor said.

RELATED: Man arrested in series of San Diego State gropings

Taschner said all four students -- who range in age from 17 to 19 -- identified Shewangizaw as their alleged attacker.

Shewangizaw bailed out of jail but was re-arrested on Friday in connection with the UC Riverside attempted rape, Taschner said.

Superior Court Judge Jay Bloom -- calling the defendant a danger to the community and citing the callousness of the attacks -- set bail at $500,000.

A bail review is set for Friday and a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 18.