SERIAL RAPIST WHO RAPED FIVES GIRLS FROM 1968 TO 1984 DECLARED SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR

For Immediate Release
Case # M-10123






July 5, 2013

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

SERIAL RAPIST WHO RAPED FIVES GIRLS FROM 1968 TO 1984 DECLARED SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR

 

SANTA ANA – A serial rapist will be committed to a state mental hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) after a unanimous jury found that the offender is a continued threat to children and the community. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) filed a petition to have Lawtis Rhoden, 63, committed as an SVP based on his prior convictions of sexual assaults against several underage girls.

 

Under the law, potential SVPs are subject to mental health reviews by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) prior to completion of their criminal sentence.  If the People are able to prove that the defendant meets SVP criteria, a petition is filed to have the defendant civilly committed.  There are three criteria that must be met in order to designate a person as SVP. First, the defendant must have committed at least one sexually violent offense.  Second, he/she must be diagnosed with a mental disorder.  Finally, it must be found that he/she is likely to re-offend unless he/she is held in custody and treated. 

 

If a unanimous jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant meets the SVP criteria, the defendant is committed to a secure mental care facility for treatment until he is safe for release. 

 

1968 Criminal Case (Case # F68-251)

On March 2, 1968, Rhoden, then, 18 years old, met 13-year-old Jane Doe #1 at Cocoa Beach in Florida. On three separate occasions, he lured the victim back to his apartment and raped her. On Jan. 24, 1969, Rhoden pleaded guilty to one felony count of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and was sentenced to 14 months in a mental state hospital in Florida and 12 years in state prison.

 

1984 Criminal Cases

On April 24, 1984, Rhoden, then, 34 years old, grabbed 14-year-old Jane Doe #2 as she was walking to Bellflower High School in Los Angeles County and forced her inside his car. Rhoden drove Jane Doe #2 to an apartment building and took her behind the building where he forcibly raped her. The case was reported to police (Case #A465250).

 

On June 2, 1984, Rhoden drove up to 17-year-old Jane Doe #3 as she was walking home after she had finished babysitting in Anaheim. Rhoden lured the victim into his car by posing as a photographer and offering her a modeling opportunity. Rhoden drove Jane Doe #3 to an apartment building and took her behind the building where he forcibly raped her. The case was reported to police (Case #C061804).