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Officials: Marine suspect linked to other sexual assaults

Published On: Jul 14 2013 02:47:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 31 2013 06:31:02 PM CDT

A Camp Lejeune Marine accused of sexual assault in the parking lot of a Jacksonville shopping center now faces seven additional charges related to assaults on four other women, according to Jacksonville Police.

Curtis Ray Gates, Jr., 21, of Jacksonville, was charged with sexual offense, kidnapping and crime against nature on July 14, after Jacksonville police say they witnessed a sexual assault in the parking lot of the Northwoods Shopping Plaza, at 344 Henderson Drive.

Gates was placed on a $1 million bond and remains in the Onslow County Jail.

"Subsequent to his arrest, the joint investigation by JPD Investigative Services and NCIS Sexual Assault Task Force provided evidence to charge Gates in four other open investigations of sexual assault in the City," stated Captain Jason Bettis.

Lieutenant Ronnie Dorn says it's rare to see a case where police can link one person to this many assaults.

"Not that often that we see somebody that we can tie to that many crimes as we did him, but hopefully, that's a productive picture of law enforcement and community working together," Dorn said.

Gates now faces two counts of sexual battery, attempted 2nd degree rape, assault on a female, 2nd degree sexual offense, crime against nature, and felony breaking and entering.

Among the incidents he is charged for is an assault that occurred at a Jacksonville school earlier in the month. Around 7 a.m. on July 9, Jacksonville police officers responded to Northwoods Park Middle School on Sioux Drive where a woman said a man grabbed her as she exited her vehicle. According to police, witnesses shouted at the suspect, and he ran away.

In addition to this assault and the one at Northwoods Shopping Center, Gates has been connected to three other incidents, according to police. His bond has now been raised to $1,184,000.

Gates' attorney, Matt Silva, says Gates is denying all allegations.

"He's a good Marine, and he's never had an allegation like this before," Silva said. "Anyone in his situation who denies these types of allegations would be feeling pretty bad."

Previous story:

The man accused of sexual assault in the parking lot of a Jacksonville shopping center is a Camp Lejeune Marine, base officials said.

Police said they saw 21-year-old Curtis Ray Gates, Jr., of Jacksonville, sexually assaulting the female victim in the parking lot of the Northwoods Shopping Plaza, at 344 Henderson Drive.

Officers responded to the scene at about 1 a.m. Sunday after receiving reports of a separate disturbance in the parking area, investigators told NewsChannel 12.

Investigator Jason Bettis says police then noticed a car parked in an "odd spot." They soon found the sexual assault taking place nearby.

Police say there is no known connection between Gates and the victim. They're also investigating him further to see if he's connected to any other pending cases.

Gates was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual offense, first-degree kidnapping, and crime against nature.  He's being held on a $1 million bond.

Gates is a tank and truck mechanic at Camp Lejeune, according to base officials.