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Santa Maria man sentenced to life in prison following multiple sexual assaults

Posted at 7:01 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 22:01:16-05

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced Monday that James Fuentes, 44, was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

This comes after Fuentes pled to one count of forced oral copulation, a violent felony offense, on two different victims and admitted two prior strike convictions.

These crimes come from two sexual assaults occurring in the spring of 2018 in the City of Santa Maria. Police say in one assault, Fuentes entered the home of his victim and forced her to perform sexual acts on him. In a later assault, Fuentes entered the business office of another victim and forced her to perform sexual acts on him after attempting to rape her.

Santa Maria Police Department detectives were able to quickly identify Fuentes as a suspect after the second sexual assault and tie Fuentes to both crimes through DNA analysis and other evidence collected.

James Fuentes

District Attorney Dudley commended the Santa Maria Police Department, the Department of Justice Criminal Lab in Goleta and Supervising Deputy District Attorney Scott Donahue for their work in investigating, analyzing evidence and assisting in the prosecution of these heinous crimes. District Attorney Dudley also added, "In reporting these horrific crimes, these courageous victims ensured that this sexual predator can never assault another woman again."

He will also be required to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290 for life.