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Woman Wants to Help Assailant Turn Life Around

From a Times Staff Writer

Rather than seek revenge against a drifter who hid in a bathroom stall and tried to rape and murder her, 70-year-old Madge Rodda said Friday that she only wants to help her assailant turn his life around through religion.

Rodda presented James Bridle, 23, with a Bible moments before his sentencing Friday to 17 years in prison for attacking her and slicing her throat last summer. She also plans to visit him and bring along tape recordings of Scriptures.

“I told him the power of God was all he needed to redeem himself,” she said of Bridle, who earlier pleaded guilty to charges of attempted rape, assault and robbery. “He knows I have forgiven him.”

During the attack, Rodda said, she began to pray. Upon hearing her, she said Bridle told her: “I believe in God too, but Satan is poisoning my mind. I need help.”

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Rodda said she believed that Bridle was troubled but sincere. When he asked his attorney last month to give Rodda a message asking for her forgiveness, Rodda responded.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Jo Escobar said it is highly unusual for a crime victim to be so forgiving.

Rodda was not able to hand her Bible to Bridle, nor would the judge permit her to speak directly with Bridle as she had hoped. Instead, she gave the Bible to a bailiff, who thumbed through it as a security precaution before giving it to the defendant. Bridle did not react visibly when he took the book.

Bridle’s defense attorney did not return phone calls Friday.

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