A 50-year-old South Bay man will stand trial for the alleged sexual battery and unwanted touching of seven women, ages 13 to 84.
Prosecutors Thursday filed an amended, seven-count criminal complaint against Jose Plascencia, whose crimes allegedly span a two-month period, from March 29 to May 29.
Allegations against Plascencia include felony attempted kidnapping of a juvenile and false imprisonment along with five misdemeanor sex crimes.
Palencia maintains his innocence, but after two hours of graphic and emotional testimony at his preliminary hearing Thursday, Judge Patricia Garcia said the evidence supported the allegations and bound him for trial.
Prosecutors said witnesses include the 13-year-old girl who Plascencia allegedly tried to kidnap May 29, as she walked home from Montgomery Middle School in the South Bay.
Police say the girl was walking on Picador Boulevard near Palm Avenue around 5:17 p.m. when she noticed she was being followed by a man driving a black van.
The van pulled up next to her with the passenger door open and a man inside asked her if she wanted a ride home. He then grabbed her wrist and tried to pull her inside, police said.
The girl managed to pull away and ran home.
A witness came forward and confirmed the girl's report, saying they saw the girl talking to a man in a van, so they made a U-turn to see what was going on. Soon after that, the girl was running from the van, the witness told police.
The girl had stayed late at school to complete extra credit assignments, according to her uncle.
Plascencia was taken into custody on May 31 on Dennery Road, according to Chula Vista police.
An 84-year-old woman also identified Plasencia as the man who grabbed and fondled her breasts earlier this year inside a Walmart, also in Otay Mesa.
The alleged victim said she felt sorry for Plasencia, who was cruising down the store aisles in a wheelchair when he stopped to ask her for a hug.
"I kind of opened my (arms) to hug him, and when he stood up, that's when he put one hand on my right then one on my left… then he squeezed my boobies,” the alleged victim recalled.
A middle-aged woman testified that Plasencia also turned an embrace into a sexual assault when he hugged her and her 15-year-old daughter in a Walgreen’s parking lot.
The woman said Plascenia told her he was recovering from a stroke, and had promised God he would hug 200 people a day. He asked the woman and her daughter to be hugs 198 and 199.
She said she agreed, but got very upset when Plasencia allegedly hugged her and her daughter much too tightly, and for too long, and then touched her daughter’s breasts with his arm.
She testified that Plasencia begged her not to call police to report what she felt was a sexual assault.
“But I (told him), ‘No, you're going to jail tonight, because I don't agree with you using your disability out here to take advantage of people. That's just wrong.’ And I said, ‘You're out here getting free feels and hugs from people and you're saying you had a stroke. You're just nasty. You're nasty. And you're going to jail.’"
Palencia now faces a trial on seven felony and misdemeanor counts of sexual battery, false imprisonment and attempted kidnapping.
At a previous hearing, Judge Theodore Weathers ordered a mental evaluation for Plascencia.