Man pleads not guilty to North County sexual battery series

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VISTA (CNS) – A man accused in a series of sexual batteries across San Diego County pleaded not guilty Friday to 10 misdemeanor counts.

Ji Hoon Yong, 25, was arrested Monday at a San Marcos Walmart for acts allegedly committed on multiple women in various public locations. Sheriff’s deputies were called to the store in connection with a witness who may have recognized Yong as the subject of a sheriff’s department news release which sought the public’s help in identifying a man who inappropriately touched women at several North County retail stores.

Yong is charged with sexual battery, lewd conduct and giving false information to a peace officer.

His charging document alleges there are four victims — identified as Jane Does 1 through 4 — and the conduct occurred between Dec. 20 and Jan. 4. A San Diego County Sheriff’s Department news release says the San Diego Police Department has also been investigating similar cases dating back to July.

The sheriff’s department had circulated photographs of the suspect, who allegedly 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 news release, which also said he was seen on surveillance footage inappropriately touching himself underneath his clothes before and after the assaults.

Yong is currently being held on $500,000 bail and a bail review hearing is scheduled for Jan. 13.

The sheriff’s department said it’s believed there may be additional victims, who were urged to call the San Diego County Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at 888-580-8477.

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