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Ventura County

4 Face Charges in Simi Rape Case

Courts: The San Fernando Valley men are also accused of drugging the 18-year-old student.

January 24, 2002|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Four San Fernando Valley men accused of drugging and raping an 18-year-old Simi Valley student this month appeared in Ventura County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Brian Jafari, Yan Karim and Jeffrey Pineda, all 19, and Dejon Lee, 22, did not enter pleas. They were ordered back to court Feb. 25 after their attorneys told the judge they needed more time to review reports in the case.

The four men face charges of forcible gang rape, rape with the use of drugs, robbery and related allegations that could send each to prison for more than 45 years.

Outside the courtroom, Los Angeles attorney Leonard B. Levine, who represents Pineda, said the young men are innocent.

"We fully expect when all the evidence comes out they will be exonerated," Levine said. "They adamantly deny any wrongdoing."

The men were arrested by Simi Valley police near the Ronald Reagan Freeway about 5:30 a.m. Jan. 11, about 1 1/2 hours after the alleged victim's roommate called police to report a rape.

According to police, Pineda knew the alleged victim and had arrived with his three friends earlier that night at the home where she was renting a room. The woman let them into the house. The men had an alcoholic drink and gave her a glass of water.

They all went to her bedroom to watch television, police said. The woman later became aware that she was disrobed and being sexually assaulted by the men, who allegedly ignored her pleas to stop, police said.

Authorities said the men took some of her belongings.

The woman's blood and liquids found at the scene were tested. Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. David Lehr said preliminary findings indicate she had been drugged with Ecstasy.

Pineda, Lee and Karim are residents of North Hollywood; Jafari lives in Studio City. They all remain free on $250,000 bail.

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