James Francisco Fuentes

James Francisco Fuentes

A Santa Maria man was ordered to trial on numerous sexual assault and other charges linked to incidents in early 2018. 

James Francisco Fuentes, 43, was arrested in May 2018 in connection with a sexual assault that occurred near 1400 East Main Street, with Santa Maria police believing he may have committed other similar crimes.

Fuentes was located at Armstrong Park in Santa Maria approximately five hours after the attack.

The amended criminal complaint listed at least two victims, including one from an alleged incident in February 2018. 

After a preliminary hearing last week, Judge Gustavo Lavayen said enough evidence existed for Fuentes to face trial on the 10 charges which included kidnapping for robbery or rape, two counts of forcible oral copulation, attempted forcible rape, two counts of dissuading a witness, along with assorted robbery and burglary counts.

He also faces several special allegations that will extend his sentence, if convicted.

At the time of his arrest, Fuentes was on parole, police said.

Fuentes was ordered back to court on Aug. 28 for arraignment on the charges.

He remained in custody of the Santa Barbara County Jail on Monday with bail set at more than $3 million. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.