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Victim Helps to Convict Rapist : Crime: Kenneth Bogard is found guilty after woman took the unusual step of going public to warn others and pressure the Police Department.

March 10, 1995|TONY PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — A popular band leader was convicted Thursday of stalking, raping and sexually assaulting seven women in a case in which one victim took the unusual step of going public to warn other women and put pressure on the Police Department to make the investigation a top priority.

As the guilty verdicts were being read, Kenneth Bogard turned to rape victim Kim Caldwell and mouthed the words, "I didn't do it."

Caldwell stared coldly at Bogard, pointed directly at him and said firmly, "Yes, you did."

Caldwell, 33, who relinquished the anonymity usually granted by the media to rape victims, was jubilant after the conviction of Bogard on 35 felony counts.

"I couldn't feel better," she said. "I worked very hard for this. Finally, I feel I can breathe again."

Bogard, 37, who was known for his charity works and zany stage presence as leader of the reggae/Caribbean/hip-hop band Dr. Chico's Island Sounds, was convicted largely through DNA evidence from saliva and semen. He faces a prison sentence of up to 100 years.

Caldwell's actions brought praise from feminist leaders and police officials.

"We hope other women will follow her lead," said Jennifer Coburn, president of the San Diego chapter of the National Organization for Women. "She rejected the notion that women have anything to feel ashamed of because they are raped."

"Kim Caldwell served as an example of what can happen when a victim steps forward and assists with the investigation," Assistant Police Chief Keith Enerson said. "Hopefully she'll be an example to other women. She showed incredible courage."

Caldwell, an airline employee, was raped Aug. 17, 1993, by an attacker wearing a ski mask and brandishing a knife who broke into her Pacific Beach home about 3 a.m. She was the rapist's sixth victim.

In the weeks after the rape, Caldwell, her face shrouded in darkness, was anonymously interviewed by a television reporter.

Caldwell said later that despite the good intentions of the reporter, she felt sullied by the experience, as if being raped was something to be ashamed of. In subsequent interviews, Caldwell allowed the media to use her name and show her face.

After another woman was attacked and the investigation appeared stalled, Caldwell went to Mayor Susan Golding. Caldwell threatened to put an advertisement in the newspaper to raise reward money.

Police assigned an additional detective, authorized overtime, and gave the case priority at the crime laboratory. A break came when a police officer at San Diego State University remembered Bogard as a suspect in a Peeping Tom case. A month later, Bogard was arrested.

Caldwell was not able to identify Bogard as her attacker but provided details that allowed the prosecutor to show a consistent pattern of bizarre behavior during the rapes. During her testimony, Caldwell looked directly at Bogard.

"It felt really good to have him feel intimidated by me," she said. "It was very empowering."

Correspondent Paul Levikow contributed to this story.

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