Man Convicted of Raping Two Students

    A 40-year old San Diego
    travel agent was convicted on Feb. 7 for sexually assaulting two UCSD medical
    students in 2005 and 2006.

    Teddy Baek, dubbed the “Asian male smoker rapist” by members
    of the media, faces multiple life sentences for convictions on seven charges,
    including multiple counts of forced rape. The sentencing will occur on March
    14.

    Related Links
    UCSD Police and City Partner to Find Rapist

    The attacks, which happened nine months apart in University
    City
    , both took place in the early morning during
    finals week. Baek entered by removing a window screen and climbing into the
    victims’ apartments through the open window while they slept. The victims were
    then blindfolded, and the second victim testified that her attacker pressed a
    metallic object against her cheek.

    “The similarities between all the attacks were so
    extraordinarily unique that there was only one conclusion,” said Deputy
    District Attorney Gretchen Means, who prosecuted Baek. “It was a very solid
    case.”

    Means said that Baek had a “particular type of female that
    he seemed to like,” as the victims were all young Asian-American UCSD students.

    Baek’s defense attorney, Marc Carlos, argued that there were
    not enough links between the two cases to prove Baek’s guilt and that the
    victims had conflicting physical descriptions. One of the victims told police
    that her attacker had a Japanese accent, and a weapon was involved in only one
    of the rapes.

    Baek, who owns the “Travel-Land” agency in Kearny Mesa,
    emigrated from Korea
    in 1991. He lives in Carmel Valley
    and is currently married with two children. Carlos described him as a hard-working
    immigrant who came to the United States
    “for the American Dream” and is well- respected in San
    Diego
    ’s Korean-American community.

    However, both victims described their attacker as an Asian
    male who smoked cigarettes, and the DNA obtained from the crime scenes matched
    Baek’s, according to Mónica Muñoz, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Police
    Department. The jurors deliberated for about a day before finding Baek guilty
    on seven of the nine charges, but were unable to reach a verdict on two charges
    of attempted burglary.

    “His crimes showed an escalating pattern of violence, and
    what his next step was going to be, nobody knows,” Means said. “He is a serial
    rapist of the scariest type.”

    In the months following the rapes, police swabbed the mouth
    of any individual fitting the suspect’s description. In December 2006, another University
    City
    woman heard noises in the bushes outside her
    window one night and called the police. When the police arrived at the scene
    they chased and caught Baek. He was placed under surveillance until the results
    of the DNA test linked him to both rapes, leading to his arrest.

    It is unknown why Baek’s victims were UCSD students, or
    whether the pattern was even intentional, according to Means. UCSD does not
    have a very high rate of sex crimes on campus. According to UCSD’s Clery
    Report, a federally mandated compilation of crimes occurring on or around
    university campuses, there were six instances of sexual offenses with the use
    of force on and directly adjacent to campus in 2004 and 2005, and two in 2006.
    Most rapes are committed by someone known by the victim, making Baek’s crimes
    particularly threatening, Means said.

    “He represented a unique predator, which made him very
    dangerous,” she said.

    Though Carlos said during the trial that Baek was innocent
    and that there was still a rapist on the loose, the city police department
    expressed satisfaction with the conviction.

    “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case,”
    Muñoz said. “It is a testament to the excellent work of our officers,
    detectives and also the district attorney’s office staff who worked on the
    case.”

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