BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Shocking news emerged about the man accused of dragging a woman into a secluded area off Ming Avenue Monday and sexually assaulting her. He is a notorious sex offender — a rapist who terrorized Bakersfield in the 1980s and only recently released from a decades-long prison sentence.
Sergio Venegas, 58, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of assaulting a woman at knifepoint on Ming Avenue near New Stine Road. The woman told police she was walking alone when the man approached. Thirty-three years ago, Venegas was dubbed the “Supermarket Rapist” after a series of kidnappings and rapes at local grocery stores.
Venegas was convicted of rape in the ’90s. He’s the first person in Kern County convicted with the help of DNA evidence.
Sergio Venegas was suspected of least six assaults in supermarket parking lots around Bakersfield in the late ’80s. And while Venegas was suspected in those cases, he was charged and convicted only for a separate rape at the Red Lion Inn in 1989.
Court records show he “bound and gagged” his victim with cloth and electrical chords. He then raped her, cut her with a knife in several places and reportedly stole money from the woman’s purse before leaving.
Then-Deputy District Attorney Lisa Green prosecuted the case, securing a conviction using DNA evidence for the first time in Kern County’s history. But the conviction was overturned three years later due to mistakes with the DNA. He was tried and convicted again in 1999, and sentenced to 56 years in prison.
He was paroled in July after serving 30 years. At the time of the sexual assault this week, he was still on parole. State data says he posed a high risk of offending again.
California adopted Megan’s Law in 1996, requiring the California Department of Justice to notify the public about convicted sex offenders. The Megan’s Law website uses risk assessment charts to determine how likely a sex offender is to strike again. It looks at factors like a person’s age, prior convictions, traits of victims, and ages when released from prison.
Venegas’ profile shows he earned a score of five out of 12 on one test which the state says is an above-average risk to re-offend. On another, Venegas scored a shocking 29 out of 30 placing him among the highest-risk sex offenders.
Venegas had his first court hearing Thursday afternoon. It’s not known yet how much prison time Sergio Venegas faces if convicted. We’ll update this story as we learn more.