Hearing held in Nevada County Superior Court on multi-victim rape case

Three women on Tuesday detailed similar sexual assaults during a preliminary hearing into the evidence against a man accused of rape.

Christopher Michael Sparpanic, 34, has been charged with 14 felony counts involving four victims that include forcible rape, attempting to commit sodomy by force or violence, kidnapping to commit a crime, forcible oral copulation, and sodomy by use of force.

The hearing into the evidence against Sparpanic, which lasted nearly the entire day, was set to resume Thursday. Sparpanic remained in custody Tuesday on a $1 million bond.

Sparpanic approached each woman, offering work, a ride or a “smoke” at the river. Instead, the defendant drove miles out of the way into the woods, and repeatedly raped them, the women testified during the hearing in Nevada County Superior Court.

The first woman said she was homeless in May 2019 when Sparpanic approached her in the parking lot of a Grass Valley gas station.

She said Sparpanic offered her $60 to trim marijuana, and agreed because she was about to go into a drug treatment program and was “desperate” for cigarette money. She told Sparpanic she would not have sex with him in an effort to set boundaries.

The woman also testified that Sparpanic had told her they were going to Greenhorn, but that he instead drove to Colfax and ended up near Foresthill. At that point, she said, he ordered her out of the vehicle and raped her. She detailed repeated sexual assaults before he drove back to Grass Valley and dropped her off, saying she never agreed to the sexual intercourse but did not resist out of fear. At one point, she said, he became angry when she protested and told her to shut up.

MORE TESTIMONY

The second woman testified that she met Sparpanic in August 2019, when he offered her a ride to Kmart. Like the first woman, she testified that Sparpanic drove her a long way before stopping in some woods.

The second woman denied offering sex, and detailed a series of forcible sexual assaults by Sparpanic.

“It didn’t matter what I said, he was going to do it and I had to like it,” she said.

The woman testified that she repeatedly told him to stop, that he was hurting her, adding that she tried to push him away but that he started choking her.

A third woman, who came forward months after Sparpanic’s November 2019 arrest, testified that he raped her in July of that year.

She said she was homeless and staying in Nevada City when Sparpanic approached her and asked her if she wanted to smoke with him down at the river. He drove past the river, she said, eventually stopping and ordering her out of the vehicle and into the woods.

Like the other two alleged victims, the third woman testified that Sparpanic raped her repeatedly and ignored her pleas to stop. He eventually left her in the woods and she walked until she found help, she said.

The woman testified that she did not tell anyone about the assault until she was arrested for violating probation this spring. At that time, she told her public defender.

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

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