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2 More Women Accuse Police Officer of Rape

April 20, 2002|SCOTT GOLD and JESSICA GARRISON | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

Two more women have accused a San Bernardino police officer, already charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting 11 other victims while on duty, of assaulting them, officials said Friday.

Arraignment for Officer Ronald VanRossum on more than two dozen felony counts, including rape and kidnapping, was postponed Friday until June 17 to give his attorney more time to review the evidence.

VanRossum, 37, alternately described as a rogue officer and a Little League father, has been in custody on $2-million bond since his arrest March 28. He did not appear in court Friday.

His attorney, William Hadden, could not be reached for comment Friday, but said earlier that his client is not guilty.

But authorities say the officer, a 14-year veteran of the department, targeted low-income women, some of them prostitutes and drug addicts, between April 2000 and November 2001 while working night patrol.

The case came to light in November when a woman arrested on an outstanding warrant told authorities that VanRossum had once driven her to a remote location and raped her while on duty. VanRossum was placed on leave while officers investigated.

Police recently turned the names of two additional victims over to the San Bernardino County district attorney's office.

Susan Mickey, a spokeswoman for the district attorney, said no additional charges have been filed, and she did not know if more are forthcoming.

Also on Friday, Judge W. Robert Fawke extended a ban on publishing VanRossum's picture.

The Los Angeles Times and the Riverside Press-Enterprise photographed the officer March 29 with Fawke's permission, but after lawyers on both sides objected, the judge said the pictures could not be published.

Lawyers for the newspapers have asked appellate judges to overturn that decision. Friday was the last day for the district attorney and the Superior Court to file opposition to the newspapers' request.

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