More evidence slows sexual assault cases against Smithfield man

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

LOGAN — The sexual assault cases against a 23-year-old Smithfield man are moving forward as attorneys review more evidence. Raymond A. Castaneda was arrested last summer after allegedly abusing two women.

Castaneda appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday afternoon, appearing by video from jail. He has been charged with seven felonies, including rape, aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse. He previously pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorney Wayne Caldwell, who had previously said Castaneda’s relationships with the two women were consensual, told the court that he and prosecutors were reviewing more phone records between the defendant and the alleged victims. The data includes hundreds of messages and social media posts.

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.

According to a Smithfield City police report, Castaneda met the second 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 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. He was arrested again and is being held without bail.

Court records show, Castaneda previously was convicted of disorderly conduct, in two separate incidents. He also pleaded guilty to retail theft.

Castaneda is scheduled to appear again in court April 14. He could face up to life in prison if convicted on the two new cases.

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