Man faces 2 years in custody after guilty plea in North County sexual battery series

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Photos show a man, Ji Hoon Yong, suspected of a series of sexual batteries in North County and now in the city of San Diego, where authorities say he groped women at retail stores. (Photo: San Diego Sheriff/Twitter)

VISTA, Calif. (CNS) – A Mira Mesa man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual battery and lewd conduct charges for accosting women in North County and across the city of San Diego.

Ji Hoon Yong, 26, entered his pleas to 10 misdemeanors stemming from a series of encounters in which women were inappropriately touched in public places in the latter half of 2020 into early this year.

As part of the plea, prosecutors have agreed to terms that include two years in custody, formal probation, sex offender counseling and treatment, GPS tracking, sex offender registration and criminal protective orders for victims who request them, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Yong was arrested in January at a Walmart in San Marcos, when sheriff’s deputies were called to the store to speak with a witness who reported recognizing Yong as the subject of a sheriff’s news release.

The sheriff’s department had circulated photographs of the suspect, who approached women from behind and pressed himself against them.

“When the startled women would turn to confront the man, he claims to have confused them for friends,” according to the sheriff’s statement, which also said he was seen on surveillance footage inappropriately touching himself underneath his clothes before and after the assaults.

The City Attorney’s Office later alleged similar conduct in the city of San Diego, saying that on several occasions, surveillance footage showed the assailant with his hands in his pants, then grabbing victims from behind and thrusting his pelvis into their backsides.

“When confronted by victims, he nearly always apologized and said he had bumped into them by accident or he thought they were a friend,” the City Attorney’s Office alleged.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 30.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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