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Mother Denies Saying Her Son Confessed to Belmont Shore Rapes

May 08, 2003|Hilda Munoz | Times Staff Writer

The mother of the alleged Belmont Shore rapist denied Wednesday that she had told the news media he confessed the crimes to her in jail.

At the preliminary hearing for Mark Wayne Rathbun, 33, in Long Beach Superior Court, the prosecutor read an article from the Long Beach Press-Telegram in which Alice Rathbun described a jailhouse visit.

"He said, 'I'm sorry I did it, Mom. I'm going to have to pay for my sins,' " the article read.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Goul also cited an Associated Press report that quoted her as saying, "I asked him why he would hurt me like this."

Rathbun denied that she made most of those statements.

"No, I didn't say that," she said. "He just said, 'I have to pay for my sins.' "

Mark Rathbun is accused of attacking 14 women over several years in Southern California, most in the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach. He is charged with 64 counts of burglary, rape, rape with a foreign object, forcible oral copulation and sodomy.

In November, Alice Rathbun, a retired cafeteria worker at St. Mary's Hospital in Long Beach, told The Times that her son was "ashamed, embarrassed, remorseful" and that he said, "Mom, don't worry, I'll pay for what I've done."

She would not speak to a reporter after Wednesday's testimony.

Judge Tomson Ong provided a Tagalog interpreter at the hearing, after Alice Rathbun, 76, would not respond to questions in English the previous day.

Also Wednesday, Goul questioned forensic experts about DNA evidence, including blood, saliva and semen, from the victims and homes.

Tom Fedor, a forensic serologist at the Serological Research Institute in Richmond, Va., said evidence from a few of the victims matched Rathbun's DNA.

John Patrick Bockrath, a senior criminologist at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, gave similar testimony concerning four victims.

Goul is expected to continue presenting DNA evidence today.

Police believe that Rathbun, a graduate of Long Beach Polytechnic High School, first assaulted two women in Seattle in 1996. The first attack in Southern California of which he is accused occurred Jan. 17, 1997, in Long Beach.

On Nov. 7, 2002, a 30-year-old Long Beach woman fought off an attacker and bit his finger. A neighbor pointed officers toward a man on a bike.

Police arrested Rathbun, who had an injured finger, on suspicion of possessing a crack pipe and asked for a voluntary saliva swab. Investigators kept track of Rathbun until DNA from his saliva linked him to other cases.

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