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Anaheim suspect arrested for string of sexual assaults

Gary Derusha
November 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
An Orange County man accused in a series of sexual assaults was back behind bars Thursday. But the investigation is far from over. Investigators believe there are more alleged victims who have not come forward.

Police from at least three different Orange County jurisdictions say Gary Derusha, 21, is responsible for a string of sexual assaults.

Derusha has been arrested at least three times for sex crimes. Before the groping cases, he was arrested for allegedly having sex with a minor. Police believe he's responsible for 12 groping cases around Orange County.

In May, a woman who was dropping her daughter off at Fairhaven Elementary School in Santa Ana was allegedly groped by Derusha.

"Our suspect in this case walks up from behind her, pulls her pants down and sexually assaults her by grabbing her buttocks," said Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna.

At that point all police had to go on was a vague description. But then in September and October, he allegedly followed the same woman home again. She got his license plate and called 911.

While Santa Ana Police were investigating Derusha, they found out he had a history with Tustin Police.

There were six similar assaults in June and July.

Derusha was arrested in August for multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual battery, but bailed out.

"It's frustrating for the detectives involved and ultimately very frustrating for the victims," said Tustin Police Lt. John Strain. "Imagine that you've been victimized, multiple victims, and yet this gentleman is still walking the streets."

Santa Ana Police, using the information from Tustin and a positive identification from their victim, served a search warrant on Derusha's Anaheim home Thursday morning. Police said he was not cooperative, and had a switchblade knife on him.

Derusha was arrested and charged with eight counts of sexual battery, carrying a switchblade knife and resisting an officer.

Now Anaheim Police say they plan to re-interview victims from seven similar cases with a suspect matching Derusha's description and with a similar M.O. They compiled a sketch of the suspect last year.

"A lot of times these individuals do grow more bolder, they become more and more violent, up to and including raping and kidnapping and sometimes homicide," said Strain.

Police believe there is a possibility that there are further victims of Derusha's. If you have information related to the case, call the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8432.

CORRECTION: It was previously reported that Derusha is a registered sex offender.


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