Preliminary hearing set for Smithfield man accused of sexually abusing two women

Booking photo for Raymond Castaneda (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a 22-year-old Smithfield man suspected of sexually abusing two women. Raymond A. Castaneda is being held in jail without bail.

Castaneda appeared in 1st District Court Monday morning. He is being charged with rape, aggravated kidnapping and forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies; and aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.

Castaneda’s defense attorney requested the preliminary hearing, where a judge will determine if prosecutors have sufficient evidence to bind the defendant over for trial on the new case.

Cache County Chief Deputy Attorney Spencer Walsh told the court that because of the similarities between the two cases, he intends to file a doctrine of chances motion. The rule of evidence allows evidence to show that it is unlikely a defendant would be repeatedly, innocently involved in similar, suspicious circumstances.

Judge Thomas Willmore scheduled the preliminary hearing for November 25.

According to a Smithfield City police report, Castaneda met the alleged victim on a dating app in June. In the weeks that followed, the woman claimed she was abused by the suspect, which culminated in being forcibly sodomized and choked to the point she momentarily lost consciousness.

Officers interviewed Castaneda earlier this month about the allegations. He originally claimed that there was no violence during his relationship with the woman. He later altered his story but insisted that they had a consensual relationship.

Castaneda was arrested the first time after police officers were called to investigate an alleged sexual assault, June 15. The woman reported to have been strangled and slapped by the suspect, her ex-boyfriend, while in his car. She had markings on her neck and other parts of her body. She claimed that she told Castaneda to get off her and to stop but he refused. He also restrained her and forced her to stay, when she tried to get away. He was charged with aggravated kidnapping, a first-degree felony; forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; and aggravated assault, a third-degree felony.

Court records show, Castaneda previously was convicted of disorderly conduct, in two separate incidents. He also pleaded guilty to retail theft. He could face up to life in prison if convicted on the two new cases.

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