Sex Offender Who Molested Boy, 3, Gets Maximum 17-Year Term

Times Staff Writer

A registered sex offender who abducted and molested a 3-year-old boy last month and then abandoned him in a deserted area miles from home was sentenced to the maximum 17-year prison term by a judge who said these actions were as “cruel, vicious and callous as conduct can become.”

Kenneth Kasten Rasmuson, 25, of Santa Barbara, who pleaded guilty April 23 to kidnaping and child molestation charges, “cannot or will not control his behavior,” Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert T. Altman said.

“It’s been the court’s experience that people who commit these offenses simply do not change,” the judge said. “They ought to be locked up for as long as conceivably possible for the protection of society.”


‘Unrepentant Child Molester’

Describing Rasmuson as “an unrepentant child molester,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Alfred Jenkins said that after abducting the screaming boy from in front of a house west of downtown Los Angeles, the defendant “committed an atrocious sexual act upon the child, including . . . anal penetration.”

“The child was abandoned in a deserted area close to a public highway and the child was naked and could have run onto the highway. . . .,” Jenkins said.

In a handwritten letter to the judge, Rasmuson asked to be spared a long prison term but noted, “There is no excuse for what I did and I should be punished.”

Saying he had turned to God for help, the defendant added: “There is goodness within my soul, and I have every intention of bringing it forward so that I might lead a positive, Christian life style.”

Rasmuson’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender John Paul Ponist, did not oppose the prison sentence but expressed the hope that his client will get psychiatric care while incarcerated.

Addressing the court Thursday, the victim’s father, a janitor and construction worker, expressed both anger about Rasmuson’s crime and sympathy for the defendant’s family. “The right thing has been done,” the slight and soft-spoken father said in halting English, referring to the prison sentence.

‘Afraid of Strangers’

Later, he told reporters that his son is “getting over” the episode but still has nightmares and is “afraid of strangers.”

The child’s mother reported to Rasmuson’s probation officer that her son, who was found wandering in Agoura the day after his April 8 abduction, “cried constantly for several nights thereafter and had no appetite,” court documents show.

According to those documents, Rasmuson was sent to Atascadero State Hospital in 1982 after being declared a mentally disordered sex offender for sodomizing and orally copulating an 11-year-old Santa Barbara boy.

He was released two years ago and ordered to participate in an outpatient program after hospital authorities reported he “was responding well to treatment . . . and was not viewed as a likely danger to the health and safety of others,” court documents show.

Yet only the year before, Rasmuson was told during a formal review that “a fair portion of (hospital) staff didn’t see him as making much progress. . . .,” the documents show.

Referring to the outpatient program, Altman said: “It’s clear that those supervising the defendant had no understanding of him. . . . If anything, it’s obvious that his condition was getting worse.”