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SOUTH COUNTY : 2 Women Assaulted in 20-Minute Period

Orange County Focus

March 30, 1991|HENRY CHU and TERRY SPENCER

Two South County women, who managed to fend off their attackers, were accosted about 20 minutes apart early Friday in what police suspect were rape attempts, authorities reported.

The first attack occurred about 1 a.m. in Laguna Beach, where a 24-year-old woman was assaulted in her apartment on Skyline Drive. She frightened off her assailant when she screamed into a telephone to a friend on the line.

About 20 minutes later, a 23-year-old Dana Point woman was grabbed by a man as she walked from her car after parking it near her home, sheriff's deputies said. She managed to escape when her screams alerted her brother, who scared the attacker away.

Although the two assaults appeared to be attempted rapes, officials in both locations said they are apparently unrelated to assaults by a serial rapist who has attacked four women and a girl in San Clemente over the past six months.

"Just on the face of it, there doesn't appear to be any connection," Sheriff's Lt. Richard J. Olson said. "These seem to be completely different situations."

Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Ray Lardie also stated that the attack there appears unrelated to the San Clemente rapes.

"It just doesn't sound like the same type of incident they're going through," he said.

In the San Clemente series of attacks, the rapist stalked his victims to learn their habits and attacked when they were alone. The victims, including a 13-year-old girl and a 29-year-old retarded woman, were bound, blindfolded and gagged before being sexually assaulted.

In last Sunday's attack, not believed to have been committed by the serial rapist, a woman in her late 30s was raped by a man who got her to open her front door by claiming to be a representative from a religious organization.

Police could not be reached for comment on whether the Dana Point and Laguna Beach attacks might be related. The descriptions of the attackers in both incidents are similar.

The Dana Point woman had just parked her car on Chula Vista Avenue when she was grabbed by her attacker. She screamed, and her brother came out of the house. The suspect, described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds, with brown hair, then fled in a dark, four-door compact car.

The woman, whose name was withheld, was not injured, authorities said.

In the Laguna Beach attack, the victim was about to enter her apartment when a man grabbed her from behind, clamped a hand over her mouth and forced her inside, Lardie said. She was dragged into the living room and threatened with a knife. As she struggled with her attacker, the phone rang.

"She was able to knock the phone off the hook and started screaming," Lardie said. The girlfriend on the other end of the line called police. The assailant fled.

The attacker was described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, between 25 and 30 years old, weighing about 165 pounds and speaking broken English. He was wearing a blue sweat shirt and blue jeans, Lardie said.

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