LOGAN — A 24-year-old Smithfield man has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a woman more than 18-months ago. Raymond A. Castaneda has been in jail for over a year, while fighting the charges against him. The two cases have been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, prohibiting in-person trials.
Castaneda participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Monday afternoon, appearing by web conference from jail. He accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to attempted rape, a first-degree felony; and, aggravated assault and attempted forcible sex abuse, both third-degree felonies.
Castaneda was arrested the first time after police officers were called to investigate a sexual assault, June 15, 2019. The woman described being strangled and slapped by the defendant, her ex-boyfriend, while in his car. She had markings on her neck and other parts of her body.
The woman said she told Castaneda to get off her and “stop,” but he refused. He also restrained her and forced her to stay, when she tried to get away.
Around the same time, Castaneda met the second victim on a dating app, according to the Smithfield City Police Department. In the weeks that followed, the woman said she was abused by the defendant, which culminated in being forcibly sodomized and choked to the point she momentarily lost consciousness.
Officers interviewed Castaneda as part of their investigation. 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.
Court records show, Castaneda previously was convicted of disorderly conduct, in two separate incidents. He also pleaded guilty to retail theft.
As part of Monday’s plea agreement, Castaneda agreed never contact the women again and prosecutors dropped the second case against him. Attorneys will also ask the court to sentence Castaneda to 18-months in jail instead of prison.
Castaneda is scheduled to be sentenced May 10.