A 27-year-old Merced man was sentenced Tuesday to 51 years to life in prison for sexually attacking more than half a dozen women during a three-year period.
After more than two years in custody in Merced County, Yeng Kong Moua was sentenced by Judge John Kirihara in Merced Superior Court.
“We’re glad this sexual predator is off the streets of Merced,” said Thomas Min, the Merced County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case.
A jury convicted Moua in April of nearly a dozen criminal charges, including sexual penetration with a foreign object, assault with intent to commit sexual assault, and making criminal threats.
An appeal is expected.
Moua’s attorney, George Herman, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
From 2011 until the time of Moua’s arrest in 2014, Merced police received more than half a dozen reports of sexual batteries involving women walking or jogging outdoors during daylight hours. Each victim provided a similar description of her attacker.
In at least two of the attacks, investigators said, the man later identified as Moua grabbed the women and sexually assaulted them under their clothing.
Merced police Detective Raquel Rios, the lead investigator, said the case was one of the most difficult and complex investigations of her 16-year career.
“I am elated and satisfied with the sentencing,” Rios said. “I hope this outcome is a start to the survivors’ healing process.”
According to Merced police reports, Moua confronted a woman on Jan. 29, 2013, near Paulson and Dunn roads in Merced, grabbing her arm “violently” and making several sexual comments. Moua threatened to kill her as she ran toward the nearby home of a family member.
Police said Moua was identified as a person of interest early in the investigation in 2011, but said there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.
He was arrested in March 2014 after another woman read news stories about the attacks and came forward with additional information. Police were able to identify Moua as the attacker when multiple victims were able to provide license plate information. The vehicle was registered to one of Moua’s family members and all seven victims identified Moua as their attacker in photograph lineups.
Each woman testified in open court during the two-week trial earlier this year.
Rob Parsons: 209-385-2482