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Man Convicted of '70s Rapes Is Accused Again

June 11, 1993|RENE LYNCH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A convicted serial rapist who served a fraction of his 20-years-to-life prison term for attacks he committed in the early 1970s has been charged with sexual battery and assault with intent to commit rape, officials said Thursday.

Robert Glen Wold, 43, of Huntington Beach was dubbed "the Downtown Rapist" after a series of attacks from 1971 to 1973 in the downtown Huntington Beach area, officials said.

The new charges were filed June 2 after a woman acquaintance claimed that Wold tried to sexually assault her, Detective Don Howell of the Huntington Beach Police Department said. The woman fought Wold off and called police, Howell said.

Wold's defense attorney did not return phone calls seeking comment. Wold is being held in Orange County Jail and is expected to be arraigned next Friday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Fulton said.

Police are asking any additional victims to come forward, Howell said. He said that victims from the earlier assaults are also being sought to assist prosecutors.

Wold was sentenced to 20 years to life in 1974, after an Orange County Superior Court jury convicted him of 23 felonies, including eight counts of rape and 10 of first-degree burglary.

He was acquitted of several additional rape and burglary charges.

Wold typically broke into his victims' homes as they slept, and in many cases covered their heads with pillows during the attack, officials said. One victim, a mother who testified that Wold threatened to kill her two young children if she screamed, said Wold continued to make threatening phone calls to her long after the attack. She said she recognized Wold's voice from the night of the attack.

Howell said Wold also returned to rape one of his earlier victims a second time during the crime spree.

Wold was released from custody after serving seven years and three months, according to the state Department of Corrections. Under sentencing guidelines in effect at the time of Wold's release, he was eligible for parole after just seven years.

Officials said Wold would have served a longer sentence under current state laws governing sexual assault.

"I really don't think he was ready to get out after just seven years," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Bryan Brown, who prosecuted Wold in 1974 and filed the new charges against him last week.

"I never forgot that name," Brown said. "The victims in that case were terrified."

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