By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
Police arrested a serial predator Saturday, Aug. 25, after he allegedly sexually assaulted a Palisadian woman leaving an exercise class.
Identified as 54-year-old Babak Rahimzadeh, the man is accused of harassing several women and young girls throughout the Village, including a similar incident that took place at the Fancy Feet Dance Studio on Aug. 1.
The man, described as about 5 feet 8 inches tall and about 185 pounds, had been repeatedly arrested over the past eight years.
Rahimzadeh was apprehended by LAPD Officers Wright and Vasser at 15231 La Cruz Dr. at approximately 1:30 p.m. after a 42-year-old woman placed a distressed call to 911.
Alisa Bash told authorities that Rahimzadeh approached her after she left a morning Pilates class on Via De La Paz and began following her down Bowdoin Street.
Police say that the suspect asked the woman several times if he could take her to breakfast before he reached out and grabbed her through her clothing.
The attacked woman screamed and pushed Rahimzadeh away, inciting his casual reply of “What? I only wanted to take you to breakfast?”
She described the man as “very disturbed” and later told the Palisadian-Post that the incident was a wakeup call that danger can lurk in even well-protected communities.
“You can be anywhere, anytime, in the safest public place, in the middle of the day, in sweats, and still not guaranteed to be safe,” Bash told the Post.
“It would have been easier for me to just let his behavior go and let him walk away […] but I had to report him on behalf of all our young girls and women.”
It was a similar pattern to a recent assault on a teenage girl also in the Village: That time, the predator was held by private security officers but could not be arrested.
LAPD Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore told the Post that Rahimzadeh was identified by a foreign passport and did not hold any U.S.-issued identification.
Further research into his background revealed that Rahimzadeh previously spent some time in Toronto, where he was charged with four counts of sexual assault in 2009.
Also known as “Bobby Rahim,” Rahimzadeh was arrested in March after he was accused and sentenced to 90 days in jail for sexually assaulting a woman near a bathroom on UCLA’s Westwood campus. He had asked the woman for directions.
He was apprehended in a house in Santa Monica and released on May 13, only 37 days into his sentence.
On Aug. 10, he was picked up by UCLA campus police for violating the terms of his parole, but was later released on Aug. 22 before making his way back to the Palisades.
On Tuesday, Aug. 29, Rahimzadeh was being held on a felony fugitive warrant at Men’s Central Jail where he will wait to stand trial in November.
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