Kent Kafatia, a UCSB student accused of rape, faces seven new charges after two additional women came forward to identify him as their attacker.
The new charges – including three counts of false imprisonment, two counts of criminal threats, one count of attempted rape and one count of sexual battery – were filed Nov. 24 after the two additional women identified 22-year-old junior chemistry major Kafatia as their attacker, said Joyce Dudley, Santa Barbara County senior deputy district attorney.
A total of four women have come forward accusing Kafatia of criminal acts. He was initially arrested on the morning of Nov. 14 after a 20-year-old woman and a 51-year-old woman identified him as the man who raped them. Lt. Paul McCaffrey, Santa Barbara Police Dept. spokesman, said the publicity surrounding Kafatia’s initial Nov. 14 arrest prompted two additional women, a 21-year-old woman and a 22-year-old woman, to notify the police of their encounters with Kafatia.
Following the two additional women’s complaints, Kafatia’s bail was doubled last week and is now set at $1 million, Dudley said. She said Kafatia would face the seven new charges, as well as the original two counts of rape and one count of residential burglary, at his Dec. 7 preliminary hearing.
“[At the preliminary hearing], the officer will testify and say what various women said happened to them,” Dudley said. “Then, the judge makes the decision about whether there is enough evidence to hold [Kafatia] over for a trail.”
Kafatia, a former Santa Barbara City College security guard, is currently in jail. Paul Desruisseaux, UCSB associate vice chancellor for public affairs, said Kafatia enrolled at the university last summer and is a registered UCSB student this quarter.
With the additional charges brought against him, Kafatia could potentially serve close to 20 years in jail if convicted, Dudley said. The possible longer sentence resulted in the increased bail, McCaffery said.
“With the multiple number of sexual assault charges, this is approaching what could be called serial behavior and this increases the potential risk to the public if [Kafatia] were out [of jail],” McCaffrey said. “With the added charges, it also increases the risk of incarceration time should he be convicted. If people have more to lose, it alters what they do. The stakes are higher.”
McCaffrey said the newest charges come from a 21-year-old woman reported being detained forcibly and asked personal questions by a man at 3 a.m. on Oct. 31 at SBCC. The woman later identified Kafatia from a line-up at the Santa Barbara County Jail and filed charges against him Nov. 24.
“[A man] detained [the 22-year-old woman] by forcibly grasping her arm. He asked numerous personal questions of the frightened woman,” McCaffrey said. “After several tense minutes he released his grip and followed her up to the main campus level. Parked on top was a campus security truck. She realized the man was connected to this vehicle. The suspect discontinued as escort, and they parted without further incident.”
In addition, a 22-year-old woman identified Kafatia from a line-up as the man who sexually assaulted her in December 2003, McCaffrey said. She was also walking across SBCC late at night when a man driving a green pickup truck offered her a ride. When she declined, the man approached her on foot and forced her into the vehicle.
“The driver approached her on foot, grabbed her in a bear hug, and forced her into his vehicle. He made threats, climbed on top of her, and tried yanking off her clothing,” McCaffrey said. “The woman vigorously resisted, stabbing at him with a large hair clip. She broke free and fled on foot. She lay hidden in nearby bushes for an hour until [she was] certain the suspect had left the area.”
The 20-year-old woman who originally identified Kafatia as the man who raped her said she accepted a ride home from Kafatia in a pickup marked with SBCC emblems early on the morning of Nov. 14, McCaffrey said. Instead of driving her home, McCaffrey said Kafatia drove her to a quiet neighborhood and raped her. Residents heard her screams and called the police. Kafatia was later arrested at SBCC, McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey said the 51-year-old woman was acquainted with Kafatia and received a phone call from him Nov. 13 asking her to have sex with him. She declined, but later lost consciousness from being intoxicated and woke up the next morning in pain and found a used condom on the floor next to her, McCaffrey said.
Dudley said the trial is expected to begin within the year. Kafatia’s lawyer, Public Defender Karen Atkins, said she is worried that jurors’ decisions will be tainted by publicity.
“There is a lot of material pointing to [Kafatia’s] innocence,” Atkins said. “I hope he will be able to have a trial and be judged fairly and impartially.”
Atkins declined to comment further about the case.