A man reported to have grabbed three women in the Elmwood and South Berkeley, and followed a high school student walking home alone, has been charged with sexual battery this month, according to court papers.
The most recent incident took place on Acton Street in late September as the 17-year-old walked home through South Berkeley after getting a haircut. The man followed the girl for five blocks and “at one point ran up to her from behind and walked shoulder to shoulder with her,” police wrote in court papers. Scared, she tried to double back, then called police when the man continued to follow her.
Police wrote that the man was involved in three “more serious” incidents “of a similar nature” on July 29. Over a period of less than three hours that morning, the man grabbed one woman’s buttocks and the vaginas of two others, according to court documents.
Police have identified the man as Jesus Heredia-Estrada, 24, of Berkeley. His listed occupation, in booking records online, is physical labor.
The girl’s father alerted Berkeleyside to the recent arrest, Sept. 28, and said he believed it was important to inform the community: “The person has been doing this continuously, which makes me wonder how he is even still in the city. This is especially disconcerting since last year’s rape of a teenage girl near BHS has mostly been forgotten.”
He said the man at one point ran after his daughter, who is a senior at Berkeley High: “He tried to ‘sneak run’ up to her and luckily she is pretty aware and moved faster and faster.”
He also credited a good Samaritan with helping to keep his daughter safe from further harassment, or worse: “The only thing that probably stopped him was a passerby from a local construction agency who stayed with her. The driver [the good Samaritan] followed her until he realized the assailant was STILL tracking her and then they called the police.”
Heredia-Estrada fled the scene, but police were able to find and arrest him that day at San Pablo Park, at Mabel and Ward streets, according to court papers.
When Berkeleyside looked into Heredia-Estrada’s arrest, court papers showed that police had also linked him to three separate allegations of sexual battery on the morning of July 29.
According to court papers, the three incidents July 29 took place at 8:20 a.m. at Benvenue and Russell streets; at 8:46 a.m. at Stuart Street and Hillegass Avenue; and at 11 a.m. in the 1900 block of Stuart.
In the first incident, police wrote, Heredia-Estrada grabbed the vagina of a 23-year-old woman through her clothes. At Stuart and Hillegass, he grabbed the buttocks of a 29-year-old woman. In the final incident, he grabbed the vagina of a 35-year-old woman through her clothes. The first two incidents took place in the Elmwood neighborhood, while the third one took place not far away in South Berkeley.
Heredia-Estrada was not arrested that day but, when police found him several days later, he lied about his identity, according to authorities.
No charges were immediately filed in that case. But, according to court papers, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Heredia-Estrada last week, on Oct. 3, in connection with one of the July 29 incidents.
He was charged with one count of sexual battery, a misdemeanor. Authorities alleged that he touched “an intimate part” of one woman “against the will and for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification and sexual abuse.” If he is convicted, he would be required to register as a sex offender for life.
No charges appear to have been filed in connection with the September case.
BPD has not released a photograph of Heredia-Estrada, but said one may be available next week. Berkeleyside has asked the Alameda County sheriff’s office for the booking photo, but had not received a response as of publication time.
Heredia-Estrada is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Oct. 19 at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, according to records online. Bail information was not listed in records online, nor was his plea in the case.