LANCASTER (CBSLA.com) — A man suspected of posing as a police officer to kidnap and sexually assault a teenager was charged Tuesday with attacking another girl while knowing he was infected with HIV.
Joseph Kenneth Cornett, 41, pleaded not guilty to seven new felony charges, including kidnapping to commit rape, committing a lewd act on a child, giving marijuana to a minor and attempting unprotected sex while knowingly infected with HIV. He now faces a total of 26 felony charges.
The newest charges involve an April 13 attack on a 15-year-old girl who was driven to a deserted area on the far east side of Lancaster and sexually assaulted twice, after accepting a ride from Cornett, according to Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami.
He was charged last week in connection with an attack on another 15-year-old girl, who was walking home from school May 6 in Lancaster.
Cornett allegedly approached that teen and told her that she was being arrested for jaywalking, then took her to an abandoned mobile classroom near Lancaster Boulevard and 40th Street and assaulted her. The teen escaped and sought help at a nearby church.
When Cornett tried to drive away, his vehicle became stuck in the desert sand, and he was arrested, after spitting at and fighting with officers, Hatami said.
Along with the felony charges, Cornett faces eight misdemeanor counts, including resisting a peace officer and possessing PCP.
He has remained jailed since his arrest May 6 and faces a potential life prison sentence if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Hatami said the DA’s office will ask that Cornett’s bail be raised to more than $2.2 million.
Cornett’s court date is scheduled for May 21.
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