Army Vet Pilot Charged in Sexual Assaults at California Hiking Trails

Home  »  Sex Crimes   »   Army Vet Pilot Charged in Sexual Assaults at California Hiking Trails

Army Vet Pilot Charged in Sexual Assaults at California Hiking Trails

Army Vet Pilot Charged in Sexual Assaults at California Hiking Trails

Sep 21, 2021

A cargo airline pilot and Army veteran has been arrested in Alaska in connection with a series of violent attacks on women along hiking trails at a park in Aliso Viejo, California, according to authorities. The suspect has been tied to additional crimes in Riverside and San Diego Counties, and officials have indicated they believe he may have victimized numerous women.

According to an announcement from the Orange County District Attorney & Sheriff’s Department, Robert Daniel Yucas, 51, raped at least one woman and tried to rape two others after choking them unconscious and then dragging the victims off of a trail in Aliso Viejo’s Woodfield Park.

The following charges have been filed against Yucas:

  • Three felony counts of kidnapping to commit a sex offense
  • One felony count of forcible rape
  • One felony count of attempted forcible rape
  • Three felony counts of assault with intent to commit a sexual offense

Authorities said the series of sexual assaults allegedly committed by Yucas began in January 2020 and continued through at least August 2021. Investigators have identified three separate incidents where they believe Yucas was involved:

I. January 20, 2020: A 24-year-old woman was at Aliso Viejo’s Woodfield Park to skateboard when a man (eventually identified as Yucas) reportedly asked her for directions. As the woman pulled out her phone, Yucas is accused of suddenly grabbing her in a chokehold and dragging the victim into the bushes near a walking path. The woman lost consciousness in the attack and, upon regaining consciousness, discovered that she had been raped. Authorities were reportedly able to collect DNA evidence from the incident, but a match in the national database was not found.

II. April 2, 2020: A 32-year-old woman was running in Woodfield Park when a man (eventually identified as Yucas) grabbed her from behind and put her in a chokehold. Once again, Yucas is accused of dragging the woman into the bushes in an attempt to rape her – but in this particular incident the woman was reportedly able to fight him off. Authorities indicated DNA evidence was obtained in this attack.

III. August 28, 2021: A 41-year-old woman was in Woodfield Park when a man suddenly attacked her, placing the victim in a chokehold. The woman reportedly lost consciousness and woke up in the bushes next to a walking path to find her pants had been pulled down.

Contact our top-rated team of expert sexual abuse attorneys online or by phone today to pursue justice and secure a financial award for damages.

Hoping to identify the sexual predator involved in the spree of attacks, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department released two composite drawings of the suspect.

During the investigation, detectives received an anonymous tip. Authorities have confirmed that on September 4, Yucas, a resident of Cathedral City in Riverside County, was identified as a suspect in a separate crime committed in San Diego. DNA collected as a result of that incident matched DNA from two of the Aliso Viejo attacks.

On Thursday, Yucas, who is a pilot for cargo airliner Kalitta Air, was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, after a return flight from China. He is currently awaiting extradition back to California.

If convicted on all charges, Yucas faces a maximum sentence of 39 years to life plus 6 years in state prison.

At a press conference Monday, Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes expressed support for the survivors of the sexual assault incidents.

“The three victims in this case were doing things many of us do every day. But the suspect kidnapped these victims, placed them in chokeholds, sexually assaulted them, and changed their lives forever,” Barnes said.

Barnes also expressed gratitude to the various teams involved in the investigation and arrest of Yucas.

“Thank you to the Orange County Crime Lab, Orange County Crime Stoppers, the San Diego Police Department, and the Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire Department for their assistance in identifying and making this arrest. We all want to live in a neighborhood where we feel safe to do something as simple to take a walk. With this arrest, we have regained a small piece of that sense of safety.”

Barnes also indicated that detectives are continuing to follow-up on leads, including checking Yucas’ flight schedules and working with other agencies to locate any additional victims. Given Yucas’ position as a pilot and his frequent trips across the U.S. and around the globe, authorities believe there may be more survivors who have yet to be identified.

Authorities have accused Yucas of being a “serial rapist,” and are urging anyone with information related to a possible victim of a related sex crime to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Sexual Assault Unit at 714-647-7419.

Investigators also noted that Yucas lived in Aliso Viejo prior to moving to Riverside County’s Cathedral City, and he is known to spend time in San Diego County.

Yucas recently appeared in an interview with local KESQ News Channel 3 ahead of the September 11th anniversary, offering a perspective from a military veteran. An image from the interview was used at Monday’s press conference to provide the “best picture we have of him.” In the KESQ interview, Yucas said he “wouldn’t be the same person” he is today without his experiences in the military, and expressed support for those who lost loved ones during the national tragedy.

“It’s unimaginable to me what type of pain there must be for those who’ve lost folks who are really close to them – you can’t replace that,” Yucas states in the interview.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer noted the importance of the arrest at Monday’s press conference.

Sexual predators do not stop until we stop them,” Spitzer said. “An entire community lived in fear that they would be the next victims to be grabbed off a trail, choked unconscious, and raped. The bravery of an anonymous tipster to come forward with information about this predator led to his capture and likely prevented additional women from being sexually assaulted. These women endured unimaginable horror at the hands of a stranger who hunted them like prey. Now that this sexual predator is behind bars, my job is to make sure he is held accountable for these heinous crimes to the fullest extent of the law. The way we prevent him from harming any more women is to keep him behind bars for the rest of his life,” he added.

Orange County Deputy District Attorney Raquel Cooper of the Sexual Assault Unit is reportedly prosecuting the case.

Reporting Sexual Assault and Obtaining the Justice You Deserve

Dordulian Law Group (DLG) is California’s premier sexual assault firm providing survivors with a unique and all-encompassing typc of legal representation which includes a comprehensive support network of professionals known as the SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts).

DLG’s SAJE Team is available 24/7 to survivors as four-tiered representation:

  • Litigation Lead: Sam Dordulian, former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County with over 100 jury trial victories and 25 years of experience
  • Investigative Lead: Moses Castillo, in-house Chief Investigator and retired LAPD sex crimes detective in the elite Abused Child Unit with over 30 years of experience
  • Mental Health Lead: In-house licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience specifically assisting sexual assault survivors
  • Advocate Leads: Two licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates who have devoted their lives to helping sexual assault survivors

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

With DLG, survivors not only have access to the absolute best legal representation available in Sam Dordulian, but access to additional and often critical resources and support throughout the legal process (and beyond).

Dordulian founded DLG after his decorated career as a sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. In that role, he obtained life sentences against some of our community’s most dangerous sexual predators. Today, Dordulian fights to help survivors of sexual assault secure the justice they deserve by recovering maximum financial compensation in civil lawsuits.

Why Choose DLG for Your Sexual Assault Civil Lawsuit?

Our unparalleled experience and proven results are why sexual assault survivors throughout the nation consistently choose DLG to handle their claims, obtain justice, and recover maximum financial compensation on their behalf:

  • More than $100,000,000 recovered in settlements and verdicts
  • A 98% success record
  • More than 100 jury trial victories
  • Former sex crimes prosecutor
  • Former Deputy District Attorney for L.A. County
  • In-house Chief Investigator/retired LAPD detective
  • More than 25 years of sex crimes experience

Contact us today for a free and no obligation consultation to discuss your sex crime case at 818-322-4056. DLG has successfully helped countless sexual assault survivors recover maximum financial damages awards and obtain the justice they deserve on their own terms.

We accept all cases on a contingency fee agreement, which means you never have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses when securing the very best legal representation available. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you will not pay a penny until we recover maximum financial compensation for your sexual assault claim.

Go See Sam