Smoke shop sex assault suspect set for July trial in Nevada County Superior Court |

Smoke shop sex assault suspect set for July trial in Nevada County Superior Court

A man accused of touching two young women at the Combie Road smoke shop where he worked is set to stand trial in July on charges of felony assault with the intent to commit oral copulation and misdemeanor sexual battery.

Ranjit Singh, 62, was arrested after he allegedly offered a woman alcohol and touched her breast on June 22, followed the next day by offering alcohol to a second woman before pushing her into a back room and asking her for oral sex.

Nevada County Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger on Friday denied a motion by Singh’s attorney, Barry Zimmerman, to dismiss the felony charge.

Zimmerman argued there was no element of force in the incident, adding that his client hugged and kissed the woman and did not touch her otherwise.

Deputy District Attorney Ed Grubaugh called Zimmerman’s argument a “preposterous reading of the evidence,” saying Singh forced the woman into a bathroom and grabbed her breast.

“She was there against her will, she had to escape,” Grubaugh said.

Heidelberger said that after reviewing the transcript of the preliminary hearing, she found sufficient evidence to support both charges. She scheduled Singh’s trial, with a two-week estimate, to start July 7. He remained out of custody Friday on $100,000 bond.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email or call 530-477-4236.

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