Serial rapist committed to mental hospital

An Orange County judge has ordered a convicted serial rapist committed to a mental hospital, possibly for life, after a jury found that he continues to be a threat to society even though he has completed his state prison term.

On Monday, a jury unanimously reached the determination against Dougal Samuels, 55, after a monthlong civil commitment trial.

Samuels was convicted in 1989 of raping two women, including one in Costa Mesa, and sexually assaulting two others, including one in Laguna Beach, after meeting them at area bars or restaurants. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison and has been in the custody of the state Department of Mental Health since 1996.

On July 28, 1987, Samuels met a woman at The White House restaurant in Laguna Beach, according to a news release from the Orange County district attorney's office. After the woman's friends left, Samuels asked her for a ride to his car, which he claimed was nearby. When he couldn't locate his car, he told the woman to pull over and then jumped on top of her, choked her and attempted to rape her. The victim eventually broke free and reported the assault to police.

On Aug. 9, 1987, Samuels met another woman at Marcel's in Costa Mesa. After dinner, he told the woman he had too much to drink and asked if she could follow him to a nearby motel to make sure he was OK. Once there, Samuels attacked and raped the woman, beating and choking her, according to the release.

Under California law, people convicted of sexually violent offenses must be examined mentally once they have completed their criminal sentence.

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