FRAZIER PARK, Calif. (Friday, July 24, 2009, 5:30 p.m.)—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 at 10:10 p.m. by Bakersfield Police Department officers. Though currently a Bakersfield resident, Berkowitz is said to have grown up in Frazier Park and attended Frazier Park and El Tejon Schools, according to Pat Hirst and another local acquaintance, who have known Berkowitz for many years. Berkowitz is being held on $400,000 bail.
"I saw him this Saturday riding dirt bikes up here on Edison Trail (in Frazier Park)," Hirst said. Bakersfield police investigators said Berkowitz visits Frazier Park often.
The alleged victim was a 14-year-old female. According to BPD Detective Mary DeGeare, the girl was reported to have been passed out near the intersection of White Lane and Gosford Road in Bakersfield. Frazier Park acquaintances told The Mountain Enterprise on July 24, "that is in 'Ricky's' neighborhood." Investigators said that Berkowitz happened upon the girl and took her to a nearby residence where the assault occurred, adding that once he released her, the girl made her way home and reported the crime. 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 alleged assaults took place on Monday morning, July 20. The police report said that the victim's description of her assailant, the vehicle, the residence and the neighborhood where the assaults occurred made it possible for detectives to locate Berkowitz and make the arrest.
According to another local acquaintance who didn't wish to be named, Berkowitz is married to a woman who also grew up in the Mountain Communities and has an eight-year-old child. He works in construction. "His family is still living here," the acquaintance said. "It was hard to believe. 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. I'm happy to see him get caught. It's karma."
Berkowitz's next hearing is set for 9 a.m. August 5 in California Superior Court in Bakersfield.