A Bowie man arrested last month in connection with a sexual assault in Olney was indicted yesterday in Montgomery County in four other attacks that occurred along Route 29.

A grand jury indicted Joseph N. Kirk, 30, on a total of 16 charges, including three counts of first-degree sexual offense and single counts of attempted murder, battery, theft and assault with intent to maim. First-degree sexual offense is punishable by life in prison.

Kirk, a plumber's assistant, was arrested Jan. 4 and charged with a Nov. 20 assault on a 31-year-old woman at her office on Olney Sandy Spring Road. In addition to that case, the grand jury also indicted Kirk yesterday on charges stemming from two 1988 sexual assaults and two attacks last year.

Police investigators said Kirk is believed to be responsible for 17 sexual assaults that occurred between May 1988 and last November in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. He is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Detention Center.

Kirk also has been charged in two Prince George's County arrest warrants with an Oct. 13, 1989, sexual assault in Laurel and a Nov. 25 attack on a woman at her office in Beltsville.

An investigation into other cases is continuing, spokesmen from police departments in both counties said yesterday.

According to a statement of charges, Kirk was arrested by Montgomery authorities after a surveillance team observed him loitering in areas adjacent to where previous sexual assaults had occurred. Police also saw Kirk smoking Marlboro cigarettes, which had been found at the scene of one of the alleged sexual assaults, the statement said.

Kirk was convicted in San Diego in 1984 for a sexual assault on a 22-year-old woman, according to court records. He was sentenced to four years in prison and was on parole until August 1989, police said.

Kirk was indicted yesterday on charges stemming from a May 3, 1988, attack on a 41-year-old woman in her apartment off Route 29. Police obtained a semen sample from the victim's residence, according to a statement of charges.

Kirk also was indicted in a June 9, 1988, assault on a 20-year-old woman who was choked nearly unconscious while working late in her office on Prosperity Drive near Route 29. After the assault, Kirk allegedly told the victim, "Sorry, I have to go now," according to court records.

In addition, Kirk was indicted in two other sexual assaults last year along Route 29. He is accused of binding and gagging a 44-year-old woman in her apartment during a June 22 attack. Kirk also was indicted in an Aug. 1 attack on a 14-year-old girl who was helping to clean an office building. Kirk fled after the girl bit him, police said.