Riverside Campus rapist convicted after two years

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By David Morris

By David Morris

Exactly two years after the rape of a Riverside Community College female student behind the Applied Technology building a verdict was reached.

The seven women and five men jury convicted Charles Lenard Hale guilty of rape by force for fear, kidnapping to commit rape and criminal threats.

Hale faces a possible life sentence. His sentence hearing is scheduled for April 27.

The woman wasn’t present for court as she is studying nursing on the East Coast, but her father was. The Press-Enterprise reported in March that the woman testified that on March 19, 2003 an 18-year-old woman left her 9 a.m. algebra class heading to the library to do homework. She then left the library to search for some friends in the Quad and when she failed to find them she headed to her car. She rode the elevator by the Applied Technology building down to the lower campus and upon exiting the elevator she was held at gunpoint by two men and raped.

RCC Police authorities were unable to locate the second assailant and it is believed that a third, possibly a woman, was involved and used as a lookout.

According to The Press- Enterprise the victim couldn’t identify the rapist, but briefly saw the gunman’s face as he stepped over her after the pair was startled by someone in the distance yelling “Katie” during the rape.

“That counts, dog. Let’s go,” she recalled him saying, which hints at a possible gang related initiation process.

An RCC art professor sketched a composite of the gunman with the description from the victim. Riverside police officers arrested Hale when they determined he matched the composite, reported The Press Enterprise.

The victim did not attend the conviction on March 19, but her father was relieved with the verdict while Hale’s parents were adamant about their son’s innocence.

Hale’s mother, Brenda Cornell, testified that her son was at a supermarket paying a phone bill near their Eastside apartment the morning of the assault.

According to The Press- Enterprise, Deputy District Attorney Sean Lafferty criticized her testimony, telling the jurors Hale’s relatives were inconsistent.

Another witness who testified against Hale identified him as someone he saw on campus that morning. This witness strengthened the prosecutor’s case after the victim identified him three times as the one who held the gun to her head.

Two suspicious incidents have occurred recently at the Riverside and Norco campuses.

According to a press release, on Jan. 24 a man (later identified by RCC Police as a registered sex offender in Nevada) entered a women’s restroom in the Digital Library & Learning Resource Center on the Riverside Campus, startling a female student.

On March 28, a man of similar description entered a woman’s restroom in the Library on the Norco Campus, and jumped up to look over the closed stall door. The women’s scream scared the man away. Subsequent investigations by RCC Police turned up two similar incidents, one at Victor Valley College, in which a female was assaulted, and at the University of Nevada.

The suspect description is that of an African American male 5 feet 10 inches tall, 170 pounds, brown hair worn short and curly and brown eyes. Reports also indicated that the man wore a down jacket.To report a suspicious incident or person call: for Riverside Campus pay phones dial 8171 or 911, or use the red Emergency Phones; on Norco and Moreno Valley Campus pay phones dial 8171 or 911.

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