‘Savage’ rapist gets 80 years

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from the San Francisco Chronicle

OAKLAND — A judge today told an Oakland man that he will probably die behind bars for a series of sexual assaults that included an attack on a teenager whose first sexual experience was being dragged into the bushes while jogging in Berkeley.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay sentenced Israel Bustamonte to 80 years in prison and called his crimes "brutal and savage acts," and the mother of a 17-year-old girl Bustamonte attacked condemned him.

"She is virtuous," the woman, whom The Chronicle is not naming to protect the victim’s identity, said of her daughter. "This was her first experience with a man. It was her first gynecological exam. It was painful and difficult and embarrassing.

"It was," she added, "also the first time she had experienced any kind of violence."

The woman said her daughter now has problems relating to men, including her father, and said of Bustamonte’s conviction, "Mom, it’s not going to undo what happened."

Bustamonte, 26, showed no visible reaction as an interpreter translated the woman’s comment.

On April 14, Bustamonte pleaded guilty to 10 felonies stemming from attacks in which four women were robbed, beaten and raped in Berkeley and Oakland. He had faced 23 felony counts of rape, sodomy, sexual assault, oral copulation and robbery.

Bustamonte’s guilty pleas spared his victims "the trauma of having to relive this is open court, the brutal acts that he committed," Clay said.

The Oakland attacks occurred Feb. 19, 2005, and Sept. 23, 2004, on Harrison Street near the Posey Tube, and on Dec. 18, 2004, on Fifth Street near Union Street.

The teenager was attacked as she jogged in Berkeley’s Aquatic Park on May 22, 2005. Bustamonte grabbed the girl from behind and dragged her to nearby bushes, where he forced her to disrobe and attacked her, police said.

Berkeley police Officer Rob Westerhoff linked Bustamonte to the attack after seeing a sketch of the assailant and recalling that on Dec. 23, 2004, he had grabbed a woman putting her infant in the car. She resisted, and police found Bustamonte in Aquatic Park.

Bustamonte pleaded no contest to misdemeanor false imprisonment. He was sentenced to jail and released on Feb. 19, 2005. Just hours of his release, he attacked a woman near the Posey tube in the current series of attacks.

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