Hearing Date Set for Alleged Gardena Rapist as Search Continues for More Victims

By Hetty Chang
|  Thursday, Apr 11, 2013  |  Updated 10:08 PM PDT
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Accused of sexually assaulting two women after trapping them in his car, Corey Stewart appeared in Torrance Municipal Court on Thursday to set his preliminary hearing date. Investigators believe there may be more victims. Hetty Chang reports from Torrance for the NBC4 News on April 11, 2013.

Hetty Chang

Accused of sexually assaulting two women after trapping them in his car, Corey Stewart appeared in Torrance Municipal Court on Thursday to set his preliminary hearing date. Investigators believe there may be more victims. Hetty Chang reports from Torrance for the NBC4 News on April 11, 2013.

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A Redondo Beach man charged with sexually assaulting two women after trapping them in his car appeared in Torrance Municipal Court Thursday to set his preliminary hearing date, scheduled for May 9.

Additional charges against Corey Stewart, 40, are pending from an incident involving a third potential victim, according to Gardena police, the agency that arrested Stewart on Feb. 27 after DNA evidence linked him to one of the alleged incidents.

"He estimates that he's been with at least eight different women just last year alone, frequenting the local motels," Gardena police Detective Michael Ross said.

Police want to keep Stewart's picture in the public eye because they believe there are several more victims who have not yet come forward.

Stewart is accused of raping a woman he befriended on social networking site, Tagged.com last year.

He is also charged with the sexual assault of a minor, a runaway girl who was 11 years old and trafficked as a prostitute when the alleged assault occurred in 2005, police said.

Detectives are now gathering DNA evidence from an SUV they seized as part of the investigation.

Stewart’s alleged victims all describe Stewart driving an older model SUV, possibly a Ford Explorer. According to the women, the vehicle was rigged with disabled door locks, and a passenger seat that was able to recline completely flat.

Ross described what one victim told police.

"He basically locked her inside of his car, drove her to a secluded location and, according to her, she was raped," Ross said.

Stewart's mother and stepfather, Linda and Glenn Pierce, were in the courtroom Thursday.

"If infidelity lands you in jail, then all of us need to be there, OK?" Linda Pierce said. "It's not a crime, but they labeled my son as a rapist and that is not him."

Stewart's bail is set at $2 million.

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