Suspect in sexual assault at Santa Ana bus appears in court

A man accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a Santa Ana bus stop appeared in court Friday for an arraignment where he pleaded not guilty.

Santa Ana police arrested Erick Alvarez Hernandez, 27, on Jan. 10 for the alleged sex assault of a 52-year-old woman that was partially captured on surveillance video.

The violent assault was reported around 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5 in the 1000 block of West MacArthur, police said. The victim was sitting on a bench at the bus stop when Hernandez allegedly approached her from behind, wrapped his arms around her neck and pulled her to a secluded area, according to the Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Hernandez then allegedly began punching and sexually assaulting her, authorities said.

Surveillance video posted by the Santa Ana Police Department on YouTube appears to show the suspect pulling up his pants and walking away as an OCTA bus pulled up to the stop.

Authorities released photographs and a sketch of the suspect to the public, which later led to Hernandez's arrest.

Hernandez, a Santa Ana resident, was charged with one felony count each of kidnapping to commit a sex offense, forcible oral copulation, attempted forcible rape and assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.

A pretrial was scheduled for Feb. 20, followed by a preliminary hearing on Feb. 22.

Bail for Hernandez remained at $1 million. He faces a maximum sentence of 41 years to life in state prison.