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Man arrested in Craigslist ad assault

January 8, 2009 7:11:20 AM PST
A Corona Del Mar man is charged with assaulting a woman after she responded to his ad for a roommate on the popular Web site Craigslist. Police believe there may be other victims.Newport Beach Police say this sexual assault happened last September. They believe the 24-year-old may not have been the only victim.

Newport Beach Police say 48-year-old Corey Katir posted a room for rent on Craigslist. The advertisement described a cottage near the ocean. The rent was $690 a month, and he was willing to negotiate. A 24-year-old woman went to see the room at 423 Heliotrope Avenue. After talking to Katir about the rent, police say he started kissing the victim.

"He then took her by the hand, led her into a bedroom and was able to use his weight and size and kind of laid himself down on top of the victim and she was unable to escape at that point," said Newport Beach Police Sgt. Evan Sailor. "That is when he actually sexually battered her. He did touch her, her breast and her buttocks."

The victim told police Katir made her touch his genitals. She was able to get out of the situation by making a promise she didn't intend to keep.

"She said she'd continually talk with him and talked about coming back to view the property again and at some point she was able to wiggle her way out of there and escape the man," said Sgt. Sailor.

Residents say it's a desirable neighborhood. Homes for sale on Heliotrope are listed at $1.4 million and $3.1 million. Police say it's a low crime area but they don't believe the sexual assault is an isolated incident.

"And our concern is that there are other victims out there that have been too scared to come forward and report this," said Sgt. Sailor.

Craigslist representatives said the majority of its users are trustworthy and well-intentioned, but the site still offers safety tips. If you're meeting somebody for the first time, meet in public, at a café, for example. Tell somebody where you're going. Take your cell phone, consider bringing someone along, and trust your instincts.

Some neighbors tell us off-camera that they are not surprised by Katir's arrest.

Corey Katir is free on $50,000 bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for next month.

If you have any information, especially if you've been a victim of a similar crime involving the same suspect, you are asked to call Newport Beach Police at (949) 644-3776.


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