Prosecutors filed new charges Wednesday against a man accused in a four-month string of groping assaults on women in Chula Vista.
Miguel Angel Malacara, 25, was in court Wednesday for an unrelated domestic violence case. Prosecutors added two felony charges to the already open case.
“We also opened a misdemeanor case of sexual battery regarding the groping series,” said Deputy District Attorney Enrique Camarena. “He plead not guilty.”
Prosecutors charged two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery for one incident that occurred on January 7.
"On the misdemeanor case he is facing one year for each count, so obviously he’s in some more deeper trouble for the felony domestic violence case and he’s on felony probation,” said Camarena.
Malacara was arrested in February. Police believed him to be responsible for at least 14 groping attacks in Chula Vista. But charges were not filed in that case until Wednesday.
“At this time we’re only issuing one incident,” said Camarena. “We filed the incident that we felt comfortable charging at this time and we felt differently about that with the evidence that we have at the moment for the others.”
The Chula Vista Police Dept. is still conducting the investigation into the groping series, Camarena said.
Malacara was identified using DNA evidence and victim's statements, according to detectives. Police collected his DNA after the separate domestic violence incident at his home where the victim was injured.
Police said Malacara has been in trouble with the law before. He was arrested for driving under the influence and selling cocaine in 2009 and recently involved in domestic violence incidents with his girlfriend. It is NBC San Diego’s policy not to publish names of alleged domestic violence victims.
Malacara’s girlfriend admitted in February they've had problems in their 5-year relationship, but they were trying to work on their family.
“I think it's a big mistake. I don’t think it's him at all,” said his girlfriend about the recent groping attacks. “I know he wouldn't touch other girls, he has a little girl himself. I don't think he would ever go that low.”
All of the attacks happened in broad daylight along the Broadway-Fourth Avenue corridor. The victims range in age from 15 to 40. In almost every case the suspect attacked the victims by grabbing at them and then running.
Malacara could be facing eight years in prison.