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Suspect Charged In Pennypack Park Rapes

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- "He is not a nice guy. He is brutal. He is a brutal individual."

That's how Lt. Anthony McFadden describes 39-year-old Robert Palen.

Palen is accused of being the Pennypack Park rapist, who attacked at least two different women back in August of 2010 and August 2011.

Lt. McFadden says,"That occurred at the same area with a male matching the same description, same time frame, as well as the same month, even though it was a year apart."

Investigators say in both cases, he picked up the women around Torresdale Avenue near Longshore, offering them a ride home.

Instead, he took them to Cresco Avenue near Stanwood Street where he allegedly beat and raped them. In both cases he was driving a work issued pickup truck.

He is suspected in a third case back in July of 2010 but the victim has since died.

"Once the victim has expired, passed away, there is nothing we can...We cannot charge him."


Palen_Robert 625dl
(Photo from Phila. DA)


Soon after the attacks police had issued a composite sketch.

But by the end of 2012, police say Palen moved to Madison, Wisconsin to meet a women he was talking with online. Palen choked and sexually assaulted that woman last year.

He pled guilty in that case, and that was the break Philadelphia police needed since they matched his DNA in a national database.

McFadden says, "His DNA was uploaded, matched ours and we started this investigation all over again."

 Eyewitness News spoke with a woman who lived near Palen, not too far from where the attacks took place.

"Now to hear this is kind of a shock," Traci Bobb says. "Never been a problem that I know of. He was quiet, he always comes and goes."

McFadden said Palen will have a preliminary hearing and will remain behind bars in Philadelphia until his trial.

Palen, McFadden said, grew up in Philadelphia and lived near where the alleged crimes occurred.

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