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Man accused in North County sexual batteries facing new charges in San Diego

REGION — A Mira Mesa man already charged with a series of North County sexual batteries is facing new charges for allegedly accosting women across the city of San Diego, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office announced today.

Ji Hoon Yong, 25, is charged with 14 misdemeanor sexual battery and lewd conduct counts stemming from acts allegedly committed against seven women at stores in La Jolla, Clairemont, Mira Mesa and Kearny Mesa. Those encounters — which allegedly occurred between July 1 and Dec. 20 of last year — precede
the North County incidents involving four victims, which he’s accused of committing between Dec. 20 and Jan. 4.

Yong previously pleaded not guilty to the North County charges filed against him by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, which include 10 misdemeanor counts of lewd conduct, sexual battery and providing false information to a peace officer.

He was arrested earlier this month at a Walmart in San Marcos when sheriff’s deputies were called to the store in connection with a witness who reported recognizing Yong as the subject of a sheriff’s news release.

The sheriff’s department had circulated photographs of the suspect, who allegedly approached women from behind and pressed himself against them.

“When the startled women would turn to confront the man, he claims to have confused them for friends,” according to the sheriff’s statement, which also said he was seen on surveillance footage inappropriately touching himself underneath his clothes before and after the assaults.

The City Attorney’s Office alleges similar conduct in the city of San Diego, with nearly all of the incidents captured on store surveillance footage, according to prosecutors.

Yong is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, and the City Attorney’s Office says it will seek a “significant increase” in his bail due to the new charges. He’s expected to be arraigned on the new charges sometime next week.

The City Attorney’s Office also says there may be additional victims.

“For at least six months, Yong repeatedly molested unsuspecting victims while they shopped,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott alleged. “When caught, he pretended like his unwelcome conduct was a misunderstanding. His victims knew better and reported him to law enforcement. Due to the serial nature of his actions, we believe that there may be other victims. We encourage victims and witnesses to come forward so that we can ensure justice is served.”