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Man who assaulted cheerleader in Redondo Beach sentenced to 18 years

March 9, 2012 |  8:02 am

Sylvester RawlsA Long Beach ex-convict was sentenced Thursday to 18 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl at knifepoint in the stall of a high school bathroom.

In February, a jury found Sylvester Rawls, 47, guilty of two felony counts of forcible oral copulation with use of a deadly weapon.

Rawls attacked the girl in a campus bathroom at Redondo Union High School in August 2003, but it took investigators more than seven years to identify Rawls as a suspect with DNA evidence.

Authorities had gathered a sample of Rawls' DNA following a federal conviction of conspiracy to manufacture PCP, according to a release from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.  

Rawls will be eligible for parole in about 14 years, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported Thursday. In rehashing the details of the case, the paper said that Rawls was hiding in the girls' gym restroom while the victim was participating in a "Hell Week" summer cheerleading practice. Rawls entered a stall and forced the victim, now 25, to perform oral sex on him.

Redondo Union High school has a perfect Academic Performance Index Rating of 10 out of 10, according to the Los Angeles Times' California Schools Guide.  


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-- Matt Stevens


 Photo: Sylvester Rawls. Credit: Redondo Beach Police Department.