DA re-examines rape cases brought in by West Covina cop

This from reporter Thomas Himes. 

Court records seem to indicate a West Covina police officer may have arrested the husband of a woman he was having an affair with, and sources in the police department and district attorney’s office suspect that happened as well.
Himes reports that the West Covina City Council was made aware of allegations against the officer, and chose to deny monetary claims by the man who may have been wrongfully accused and arrested. Clearly if it happened it’s a civil rights violation. An attorney is asking the US Justice Department and FBI to step in and investigate the PD.
Here’s the top of a blockbuster story. Note: It is the policy of the newspaper to refrain from naming alleged victims of sexual assault:

A Los Angeles County prosecutor said Wednesday his office will re-examine rape cases investigated by a West Covina police officer in the wake of allegations of misconduct.

Deputy District Attorney Gary Hearnsberger, who leads criminal prosecutions in the Pomona branch of the District Attorney’s Office, said rape cases worked by West Covina police Officer Tyler Kennedy would be scrutinized.

“My understanding is Kennedy is no longer working sexual assault cases, so it won’t be a problem in the future,” Hearnsberger said. “… we will have to look back … at whether there have been cases in the interim that would cause a problem.”

Kennedy could not be reached for comment at the West Covina Police Department. A cell phone assigned to him had been disconnected.

On Monday, officials suspended Kennedy for the second time in less than a year, according to department sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. The action came after a 49-year-old woman alleged Kennedy sexually harassed and propositioned her.

Kennedy was assigned to investigate an apparent spousal rape involving the alleged victim, documents show.

West Covina police Chief Frank Wills confirmed Wednesday his department is investigating Kennedy, but said the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights prohibits him from commenting.

Kennedy’s first suspension came late last year, sources said. The detective was demoted and returned to patrol after an internal affairs investigation, the sources said.

That investigation revealed Kennedy engaged in an intimate relationship with a 39-year-old woman who alleged she was sexually battered, harassed and secretly videotaped by her ex-husband in February, Hearnsberger said.

Kennedy opened an investigation into the woman’s case and arrested her ex-husband, according court documents.

On March 20, Kennedy appeared in West Covina court and asked the ex-husband, who had been released on his own recognizance, be held without bail, court documents show.

Based on Kennedy’s testimony, Judge Lesley Green increased the man’s bail to $100,000, according to court documents.

The ex-husband was subsequently charged with three misdemeanors, but the case was thrown out in November when prosecutors learned of Kennedy’s relationship with the alleged victim, Hearnsberger said.

“The relationship between Kennedy and the woman was ultimately reported to us” by internal affairs investigators, Hearnsberger said. “Because Kennedy was the investigating officer and (the relationship) calls his credibility into question … there was a decision that it wouldn’t be a viable case.”

This newspaper does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

An attorney for the woman’s ex-husband said Kennedy worked the system to keep the man in custody so the detective could continue his relationship with the 39-year-old woman.

“He had the bail imposed because he was trying to foster a relationship with the alleged victim,” said the man’s civil attorney, Arnoldo Casillas.

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Maywood cops seek help from Baldwin Park to catch rapist

But, the Baldwin Park cops haven’t called back. 

Here’s the composites and Ben Baeder’s story:
Police said a man who tried to snatch a 13-year-old girl in Maywood on Tuesday may be the same man who kidnapped and raped a girl in Baldwin Park two weeks ago.

A Latino man with acne scars tried to kidnap a 13-year-old girl at 6:45 a.m. as she was walking to school in Maywood, police said.

The man’s description was similar to one given by a 15-year-old Baldwin Park girl who said she was kidnapped and raped Oct. 12 while she was cutting school.

“This guy kind of matches the guy up there,” said Maywood Police Detective Dale Walker.

The man in the Maywood case was reported as in his mid-30s, 5-feet-11 inches tall and about 170 pounds. The man had dark hair, brown eyes, acne scars and a mole on his right cheek, according to police.

The man in the Baldwin Park case was described as a 5-foot-8 male Latino in his 30s, weighing about 210 pounds with with acne scars, short brown hair and brown eyes.


Attempts Tuesday to reach the Baldwin Park detectives handling the case were unsuccessful. Maywood detectives so far have been unable to reach Baldwin Park detectives to discuss the case, Walker said.

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The Westside Rapist and suspect John Floyd Thomas Jr.

The LA Times follow up on the John Floyd Thomas arrest contains a summary paragraph that pretty much says it all:

DNA leads detectives to John Thomas Jr., 72. He is held in two slayings, but police suspect he may have killed up to 30 elderly Westside and Claremont women a decade apart.

The story also contains some interesting background including a tidbit about Thomas’ job as an insurance adjuster in Glendale:

Thomas had been working as an adjuster handling workers’ compensation claims since 1989 — the year the killings stopped. He resigned after his arrest March 31.

Jennifer Vargen, a spokeswoman for the State Compensation Insurance Fund, would not comment on whether the employer was aware of Thomas’ criminal record, saying it was a personnel matter.

Co-workers at his office in Glendale described Thomas as quiet but friendly. They said his job mostly involved paperwork.

His steady employment masked a troubled past.

Thomas was born in Los Angeles. His mother died when he was 12 and he was raised by his aunt and a godmother. Thomas attended public schools, including Manual Arts Senior High School.

He briefly joined the U.S. Air Force in 1956. At Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, a superior described Thomas as often late and slovenly. He received a dishonorable discharge, according to his military records, and was arrested for burglary and attempted rape in Los Angeles. He was convicted and sentenced to six years in state prison in 1957. Two parole violations sent him back behind bars until 1966.

Meanwhile Pasadena Police are cracking what cold case files they may have left, according PD spokeswoman Janet Pope Givens:

Since Thomas had a prior arrest in Pasadena, detectives are looking into whether any unsolved cases may fit the same description.

“The cold case unit is taking a look at it in terms of some of the other unsolved homicides that may have taken place prior to and after, to see if there is any relation,” said Police Department Spokesperson Janet Pope Givens.

Specifically, they are looking into cases involving women who were killed around that time period.

Thomas was originally arrested in Pasadena in 1978 on suspicion of rape, but was convicted of lesser charges, she said.

The file on his arrest, which is more than 30 years old, is no longer available, she said.

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Three girls assaulted and raped in Northwest Pasadena

Crime out of control in Pasadena:

PASADENA – Three 14-year-old girls appear to have been sexually assaulted at a home in Northwest Pasadena after going home with two adult men on Monday, police said.

Police received a call from a neighbor at 2:30 p.m. after she heard one of the girls screaming and attempting to leave the home, according to Pasadena Police Lt. Randall Taylor.

The home, at 255 Idaho Street, off Lincoln Avenue and not far from the Rose Bowl, appears to not be inhabited, said Taylor. The two men who brought the girls there were not present when police showed up to the address, he added.

“It looks like this house was not lived in,” said Taylor. He said, however, that police are using property records to attempt to track down the assault offenders.

At 4:00 Monday afternoon, over 10 officers were present at the address. The home looked empty, with newspapers in the window, and debris piled up in a driveway on the side of the house.

The girls met the men at the Pacific Paseo mall at Colorado Boulevard, and invited them back to their place, said Taylor. The girls had skipped school Monday, he added.

The men brought out alcohol and marijuana when they brought the girls back to the house, Taylor said.

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Pasadena man arrested in rape case

Nelson Fortenberry thought it would be a good idea to settle an arguement with his ex by raping her, according to police. Here’s the story:

PASADENA – Police arrested a man Thursday night after he allegedly raped a woman he is legally separated from, officials said.

Nelson Fortenberry, 36, of Pasadena was taken into custody around 8:26 p.m., according to Lt. Chris Russ of the Pasadena Police Department.

Fortenberry was visiting a 33-year-old woman in the 1200 block of North Raymond Avenue. Russ did not know the relationship of the couple but said they are legally separated.

An argument ensued between the two and Fortenberry sexually assaulted the woman, Russ said.


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Predator targets teen in West Covina sexual assault

We first heard about this assault this morning. The facts just came in about an hour ago. Hopefully the West Covina PD will develop a composite drawing and release it to the public.

Here’s the top of Dan Tedford’s story:

WEST COVINA – A 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted on her way to school this morning after a man pulled her into some nearby bushes and attacked her for several minutes, according to West Covina police.

The girl was walking at 6 a.m. on Shadow Oak Drive near Gemini Street where a man in a black-hooded sweatshirt was walking about 100 yards behind her, police said.

About a minute later, the man grabbed her from behind and pulled her into the bushes near Shadow Oak Park, police said.

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Another rape in Pasadena

Just last week, Pasadena police and the DAs office announced they had captured a man suspected in a couple of rapes during the holidays.

But, apparently another rapist is stalking Colorado Boulevard, using the same MO and possibly matching the description of the previous rapist. Here’s the story as we know it:

PASADENA – A woman was kidnapped, raped and bound Friday before being dropped off in Los Angeles, authorities said.

Pasadena police received a call from Los Angeles police about 5:20 a.m. saying a woman in her late 30s reported being kidnapped from the 2600 block of East Colorado Boulevard and raped, Pasadena police Lt. Tracey Ibarra said.

The woman reported she was offered a ride by her attacker when he drove her to an unknown location within the city and sexually assaulted her, Ibarra said.

She was also struck in the face during the incident, causing minor injuries, the lieutenant added.

After the assault, the attacker bound the victim’s hands and dropped her off at a secluded spot near the 210 Freeway and La Tuna Canyon Road in Los Angeles, Ibarra said.

The suspect was described as a white man in his 40s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, of heavy build, with brown hair and blue clothing, the lieutenant said.

He was driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck that appeared it was being used as a utility or contractor’s vehicle, she said, and may have been armed with a knife.


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Suspected Pasadena rapist charged

A press release from the DA’s office just moved:

PASADENA – A 29-year-old Saugus resident was charged today with raping two women and threatening them with a box cutter, the District Attorney’s office announced.

Jason Keith Renaux, (dob 10-31-79), is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. at Pasadena Superior Court, Dept. D. He is charged in case GA075499 with three counts of forcible rape and one count of forcible oral copulation with the special allegation he used a deadly weapon, a box cutter. He is being held on $1.4 million.

Renaux is charged with allegedly raping a 19-year-old woman on Dec. 27 after he picked her up on Colorado Boulevard at Kinneloa Avenue and drove her to the 3800 block of East Foothill Boulevard. The woman escaped and gave police the suspect’s license number. An investigation led police to a second victim, who said she was attacked in a similar way on Nov. 28.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

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