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Coach Arrested in Rape of College Student

September 02, 1997|From Times Wire Services

OAKLAND — A 37-year-old high school track coach was arrested Monday in connection with the rape of a Chabot College student, one of a series of attacks in the east San Francisco Bay blamed on a serial rapist.

Tony Lawayne Ransom of San Leandro was arrested at his home early Monday, police said.

Ransom is suspected of raping a student Aug. 20 as she practiced the piano in a soundproof music room at Chabot College in Hayward, police said.

He had been a part-time track coach for the past several years at Holy Names High School, an all-girls school in Oakland, but was not hired this year, police said.

Police called the arrest a "major breakthrough," but did not say whether Ransom has been linked to a dozen other sexual assaults in the East Bay area since mid-July.

The women--attacked at state parks, on college campuses and along main thoroughfares--gave similar descriptions of their attacker, triggering fears that a serial rapist was stalking the region.

The suspect had been described as a fit man in his early 30s who wore a knit ski mask in some of the rapes, animal masks in others. Several women were raped, then robbed.

One of the rapes took place along a wooded trail, when a woman allegedly was assaulted after passing a jogger who turned around and attacked her.

Authorities said earlier that they were unsure if one man or several were responsible for the rapes. Last month, the mayors of Berkeley and Oakland posted rewards of $5,000 each for information leading to the arrest and conviction of rape suspects.

Ransom is to be arraigned Wednesday.

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