It was easy to lose amid all the serial killer coverage, but late last week serial rapist James Ernest Bledsoe, 30, of Huntington Beach, was sentenced to 129 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting four women in his apartment and surreptitiously videotaping the rapes without the victims' knowledge or consent.
At the time of his crimes, Bledsoe was a registered sex offender thanks to a 2005 child molestation conviction.
Bledsoe met a 27-year-old woman, got her phone number and set up a date to a Costa Mesa nightclub on Dec. 14, 2007. They later left the club and went for a dip in the community Jacuzzi before heading back to Bledsoe's apartment. Around 3 a.m., Bledsoe began secretly videotaping consensual sex acts with the woman without her knowing she was being taped. She is shown trying to stand up and leave and Bledsoe pulling her back to the bed as she cried. He turned off the camera before raping her, then flipped it back on to reveal he was not allowing her to leave. She pleaded to be released and to get back her clothing which Bledsoe had hidden.
He went on to forcibly orally copulate her as she told him to stop, struggled to get away and said things like, "You're scaring me" and "You're hurting me." He assaulted her and masturbated in front of her, became angry, punched her in the stomach and yelled at her to, "Get the fuck out of my house." She managed to escape and catch a ride home from a passerby before reporting the rape to Huntington Beach Police.
Knowing that police were on his tail, Bledsoe tried to flee by parking his vehicle near the Mexican border and walking across, but he was stopped by San Diego Police, who arrested him.
Investigating the rape, Huntington Beach detectives found in Bledsoe's possession videotapes of other women who had been sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, DNA evidence proved he has raped the first 27-year-old woman.
His m.o. with a 21-year-old female victim was the same: get her name and number and set up a date, in this case a Huntington Beach bar on Oct. 8, 2007. Back at his apartment, Bledsoe pulled the same secret taping act, raping the woman while she was drunk or drugged, as the tape showed her slipping in and out of consciousness. She awoke the next morning in her own home sick and in Bledsoe's clothing. She remembered only having had one drink all night. She went to a hospital and reported to Huntington Beach Police that she had been sexually assaulted. But officers were not able to connect Bledsoe to the rape until finding the video.
The circumstances for a 24-year-old rape victim were much the same as the 21-year-old. She is non-responsive on the tape he made while masturbating next to her, digitally penetrating her, orally copulating her and raping her as she was unable to resist. She awoke the next morning without knowing she had been sexually assaulted. A parole officer later found her driver's license in Bledsoe's apartment, and about six months later rape investigators were able to identify her from one of the tapes Bledsoe created.
A second 21-year-old woman passed out in a Costa Mesa nightclub and, after Bledsoe offered to driver her home, she instead wound up in his apartment, where he secretly taped himself sexually assaulting her. Though she told him she did not want to have sex with him, Bledsoe forcibly raped and forcibly digitally penetrated her. She was able to leave the next morning for a hospital, where she reported the rape. She was not able to identify her attacker until seeing news coverage of Bledsoe's arrest. His DNA later matched rape kit evidence from the hospital.
Bledsoe was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 20 of two felony counts each of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious woman who was unable to resist, rape of woman who was unable to resist due to intoxication, sexual penetration by foreign object of a person who was unable to resist due to intoxication, one felony count each of assault with intent to commit sexual assault, forcible oral copulation, oral copulation of an unconscious person who was unable to resist, oral copulation of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration by foreign object by force, and failure to register as a sex offender. He was found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of secretly filming another with the intent to arouse and one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer. The jury found true the sentencing enhancements and allegations for committing sex crimes against multiple victims and being a habitual sex offender.
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As Bledsoe was being sentenced last week, the judge heard from the 21-year-old women the rapist victimized, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office. The Oct. 8, 2007, victim's mother read her daughter's statement, which explained she has trouble trusting people and her life is in constant turmoil. The other 21-year-old victim said Bledsoe took away the dreams she had set for her life. "She said that while her physical injuries have healed, her emotional wounds remain and she can only try to move on and be strong," according to the statement.
James Ernest Bledsoe, Sex Offender Who Tried to Beat Rape Rap by Fleeing to Mexico, Gets His Day in Court