LOGAN — The sexual assault cases against a 23-year-old Smithfield man are on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. Raymond A. Castaneda has been in jail for more than nine months for allegedly abusing two women. He has pleaded not guilty to seven felonies, including rape, aggravated kidnapping, forcible sodomy and forcible sexual abuse.
Castaneda was scheduled to be in 1st District Court for an evidentiary hearing Tuesday afternoon. He was unable to attend in person though because the Cache County Jail is not transporting inmates due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Court records show, attorneys met with Judge Brian Cannell in chambers before the hearing. They agreed to postpone both cases until June so Castaneda could be present.
Defense attorney Wayne Caldwell had requested the hearing to review evidence in the cases. He previously claimed hundreds of text and social media messages between Castaneda and the alleged victims show their relationships were consensual.
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 June 16. He could face up to life in prison if convicted on the two new cases.