Man accused of banning sexual assault sentenced to stand trial

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BANNING, CA — A 28-year-old probationer charged with sexually assaulting a Banning woman in her apartment is to stand trial for forced rape and other crimes, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Hemet’s Garret Anthony Lopez was arrested in March following the alleged attack in the 200 block of North Hargrave Street near Williams Street.

Following a preliminary hearing at the Banning Justice Center, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jorge Hernandez ruled there was enough evidence to warrant a trial for rape, as well as assault. with intent to commit chaos and sexual violence.

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The judge scheduled an arraignment after the preliminary hearing for June 29 and left Lopez’s bail set at $55,000. He is being held at the nearby Smith Correctional Facility.

According to the Banning Police Department, in the pre-dawn hours of March 6, the accused visited the victim, whom he knew, at his home and assaulted her.

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The precise circumstances were not provided and the identity of the victim was not disclosed.

After leaving the scene, the woman contacted police, culminating in an investigation that led to officers arresting Lopez without incident the next day at her workplace in Cabazon, police said.

According to court records, the defendant has no documented prior felony convictions. However, he has two prior misdemeanor convictions for driving under the influence.

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