Alleged Serial Rapist Ordered to Stand Trial

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

After 3 1/2 days of testimony, most of it about brutal assaults on women across the county, a San Carlos bill collector was ordered to stand trial Tuesday on dozens of charges related to a four-year crime rampage.

One by one, women came to the witness stand and calmly testified that a man accused of being the "Room for Rent" rapist attacked them, often after creating elaborate ruses to gain their confidence.

Half of the 14 women said they were victimized after the man contacted them saying he was interested in purchasing or renting something that had been advertised. In two cases, the man posed as a costume director for a high school drama association and said he was interested in purchasing a wedding dress for a play.

Municipal Court Judge Frank Brown, who listened to the women during a preliminary hearing, ordered Kurt Newman to face at least 56 felony counts in Superior Court.

Newman, 33, has been dubbed the Room-for-Rent Rapist because three of the victims were attacked after a man came to their homes after answering newspaper advertisements seeking roommates.

However, Deputy Dist. Atty. Josephine Kiernan said Newman's case is unusual because he used other methods to attack his victims. Newman allegedly also sexually assaulted three women after responding to other types of ads and after abducting three women at gunpoint. Two of the women who testified said they were attacked by a masked man who had broken into their homes.

About half of the women who testified during the hearing were in court Monday and congratulated each other when Brown announced his decision.

"I'm glad that these victims have the satisfaction of knowing justice will be done in this case," the judge said.

Newman, who is in custody on $3 million bail, will be arraigned Monday in Superior Court.

Prosecutors asked for this early court appearance because state law declares that most crimes be prosecuted within three years of the date they were committed. The statute of limitations on several burglary and robbery counts runs out Monday.

Newman, a former aviator in the Naval Reserve, was arrested after one of the recent victims hired a private investigator to track down clues related to people who had access to her house, which was for sale at the time. The woman and her investigator took their information to the authorities, who used it to create the massive case against Newman.

Newman faces three life prison terms if he is convicted of three counts of kidnap for robbery. He is also charged with 11 counts of forcible rape, 12 rapes with a foreign object (including a table leg), and one attempted murder.

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