Victim of Rape Identifies Defendant as Her Assailant

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A teen-age girl testified Wednesday that a Panorama City man raped her after discovering that her father was a Burbank police officer.

The girl identified Robert Smith, 25, as her assailant. Smith is on trial in Van Nuys Superior Court on 36 felony charges stemming from an alleged 10-day crime spree. If convicted of the rape and other charges related to seven armed robberies in San Fernando Valley homes, he could be sentenced to five life prison terms.

The girl, now 17, said she was 15 when Smith and another man, armed with a shotgun, broke into her family's home on April 10, 1991.

She and her mother were placed under a blanket in the living room, and she cooperated with the robbers because her mother was sobbing with emotion and "I was trying to be strong for her," she testified.

Smith demanded money and searched the house, she said.

"I guess he walked into my mom's room (because) he asked if my dad was a cop," the girl testified, "and the only way he'd know that is, there's a mirror with 'Burbank Police' etched on it."

Smith then "grabbed my hair, pulled me up and led me to my bedroom," she said, and then used a knife to cut off her bathing suit and rape her.

About a dozen supporters and friends held hands as they listened to the girl's emotional testimony. Several of her friends cried and then quietly cursed Smith as he was led out of the courtroom by bailiffs.

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