A mother of three young children was tied up at gunpoint and sexually assaulted by multiple suspected armed robbers during a string of home invasions, prosecutors revealed in court Friday.
The five suspects, one of whom worked at the San Diego Unified School District, appeared in court for their arraignment, all entering not guilty pleas.
Stephen Gomez, 20; Thomas Smith Jr., 24; Aaron Rico III, 20; and Aaron Rico V, 17, were ordered to be held on a $1 million bail each. A judge ordered the fifth suspect, Robin Shawvner, 20, be held on $550,000.
The Ricos are brothers, and though Aaron Rico V is a minor, he is being charged as an adult. According to the SDUSD spokeswoman, Smith was employed with the school district from July 2012 to September 2013, working as a workability trainee in career and translation services.
Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang said on Jan. 31 at about 2:15 a.m., the suspects got into a victim’s home in Sorrento Valley through an unlocked door.
The five people barged into the mother’s room and demanded to know where the safe was, threatening to shoot her, the prosecutor said.
At gunpoint, the men allegedly tied the woman and sexually assaulted her. At least one of her three children woke up during the crime, according to Wang.
“They pointed a gun at her, threatened to shoot her, assaulted [her], bound her hands and fled her house with a lot of her property,” she said.
Gomez, Smith and the Ricos were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, sex with a foreign object, assault during a first-degree burglary, robbery and burglary.
Shawvner faces robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime charges.
Police said they had tied the group to at least three other home invasions across the North County, but the charges read in court only stem from the Sorrento Valley case.
“It’s ongoing,” said Wang. “Additional charges – that’s left to the Sam Diego police to do their investigation.”
Smith, who has a previous residential burglary conviction on his record, faces 60 years to life in prison if convicted. The other men face 25 years to life.