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2 serial rapists behind massage parlor attacks, officials now say

October 10, 2013|By Richard Winton

A series of sexual assaults and robberies at massage parlors that were initially believed to be the work of one serial rapist now appear to be the acts of two men operating separately, Riverside police said Thursday.

One of the men believed to be responsible for at least 30 "extremely violent" attacks across the Southland -- Maurice Jennings, 34 -- was arrested after images from a surveillance video were released by authorities to the public. He was arrested Sept. 27, according to Riverside County jail records.

But Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz said DNA belonging to a different man was found in some of the sexual assaults in massage parlors across Southern California between 2003 and 2009. Those attacks stretched from Gardena to San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Rapes and attacks in Gardena, the San Gabriel Valley, the Fontana area and Riverside involving five locations were tied to one unidentified suspect's DNA.

Both men targeted immigrant workers and sometimes threatened to kill victims if they reported the attacks to police, authorities said.

The man shown in the video was described as being in his 40s, about 250 pounds and roughly 6 feet tall.

In each case, the attacker entered a massage parlor or spa and somehow made his way to a back area, where he pulled a gun or knife, gathered employees and forced women to disrobe. The man then "severely beat the victims” before robbing them, Riverside Police Det. Aurelio Melendrez said.

In one case, an attacker chased a 55-year-old woman down a hallway, slamming her into a wall so hard that her shoulder was dislocated. The man punched her — breaking her collarbone and knocking out five teeth — before dragging her by the hair down the hallway.

In some cases, the man sexually assaulted more than one woman at one location. Each of the robberies, except one that was interrupted, was accompanied by a sexual assault.

Police said they fear many additional attacks went unreported.


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