Richard James Berkowitz in BPD booking photo.
By P. Hedlund and K. Penland
Richard James Berkowitz, 43—now a resident of Bakersfield but with close ties to Frazier Park—was arrested on multiple sexual assault charges on Wednesday, July 22 by Bakersfield police officers.
Berkowitz grew up in Frazier Park and attended Frazier Park and El Tejon Schools, according to Patrick Hirst and another local acquaintance, who have known him for many years. Berkowitz is being held on $400,000 bail.
“I saw him this Saturday (July 18) riding dirt bikes up here on Edison Trail (in Frazier Park),” Hirst said. BPD investigators said Berkowitz often visits Frazier Park.
The alleged victim was a 14 year-old girl. According to a report issued by Detective Mary DeGeare, the girl was passed out near the intersection of White Lane and Gosford Road in Bakersfield. Frazier Park acquaintances told The Mountain Enterprise, “that is in ‘Ricky’s’ neighborhood.”
Investigators said that Berkowitz “happened upon the girl” Monday morning, July 20, and took her to a nearby residence where the alleged assaults occurred.
According to an internet search engine, a Richard James Berkowitz lives within one mile of the Bakersfield intersection from which the girl was allegedly abducted.
The victim’s description of her assailant, the vehicle, the residence and the neighborhood where the assaults occurred led detectives to Berkowitz.
Another local acquaintance said Berkowitz is married with an eight-year-old child. He works in construction.
“It was hard to believe,” the acquaintance said. “No one saw it coming. We just couldn’t believe it.”
Hirst had a different opinion: “He used to do some weird stuff growing up…. We all knew what type of person he was. It’s karma.”
A hearing is set for 9 a.m. August 5 in California Superior Court in Bakersfield.
This is part of the July 31, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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