INDIO (CBS) — A 23-year-old Palm Desert man pleaded not guilty Thursday to raping a woman who had passed out at a party.
John Charles Velarde was arrested Tuesday for allegedly assaulting the woman on July 20 during an all-night party.
The alleged crime took place at a residence in the 55000 block of Rue Motigny Street in Desert Hot Springs.
Velarde was charged with a felony count of rape of an unconscious victim, then was arraigned at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.
According to Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Raymond Gregory, the 29-year-old woman, whose name was withheld, “became intoxicated and fell asleep in a bedroom,” awakening around 5 a.m. to discover that she was being sexually assaulted.
Velarde fled the residence, but sheriff’s investigators identified him based on information provided by partygoers and eventually tracked him down in the Coachella Valley, the captain said.
Velarde is being held at the Indio Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. He is due back in court Aug. 5 for a felony settlement conference and Aug. 10 for a preliminary hearing, which will determine if there is enough evidence to order him to stand trial.
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