A Menifee man who sexually assaulted a female friend and allegedly attacked another woman pleaded guilty Thursday to sexual battery and other felonies.
Anastasios Panagio Stefanidis, 26, is expected to receive eight years behind bars when he’s sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Molloy on Dec. 20.
Along with the sexual battery count, Stefanidis pleaded guilty to burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, making him a three-strike felon.
“This was a fair and reasonable plea bargain,” Deputy District Attorney Frank Donzanti told City News Service. “We wanted to make sure he was punished sufficiently given his conduct. We feel we did the victims justice, and he’s getting what he deserves.”
Donzanti emphasized the fact that if Stefanidis is ever convicted of another felony, he could automatically face 25 years to life in prison.
Stefanidis must also register with law enforcement as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life, notifying police agencies of his whereabouts on a yearly basis.
Stefanidis was originally charged with 11 felony counts, including two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping to commit rape, which could have made him eligible for a life sentence had he been convicted by a jury.
Donzanti said the plea deal was the product of negotiations between the prosecution and defense over the last several months. The prosecutor added that several factors weighed on the decision not to forge ahead with a trial.
“There are always complications when a victim was in some kind of relationship with a defendant,” Donzanti said.
The charges to which Stefanidis pled related to only one woman, whose name was not disclosed. One of the two rape charges that were dropped pertained to the second alleged victim, also not identified.
“Neither woman was a stranger to Mr. Stefanidis,” Donzanti said, without elaborating.
According to sheriff’s officials, on the night of Oct. 23, Stefanidis allegedly abducted a woman from her residence, drove her to an unknown location and raped her in his car.
The woman reported the attack to sheriff’s investigators on Nov. 23, a sheriff’s sergeant said.
During their investigation, detectives located another woman who alleged she had been sexually assaulted by Stefanidis, culminating in charges being filed in January.