Suspected Pennypack Park rapist charged, held on $10M

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Police say he's responsible for multiple rapes in Pennypack Park.

Police say the man responsible for multiple rapes in Pennypack Park is back in Philadelphia to face justice.

Police say 39-year-old Robert Palen viciously beat his victims before raping them. He is now charged with assaulting two women in Pennypack Park, and he is suspected in a third case.

In each case he met his victims at the 7-Eleven at Torresdale and Disston and offered them a ride home.

Instead, police say, he drove them to the edge of Pennypack Park on Cresco Avenue and raped them.

The first happened in July of 2010. A second woman was raped a month later. And the third victim was assaulted in August of 2011.

Police were able to get a DNA sample from that third victim, but the trail went cold.

A year and a half later they got a hit on the DNA from a national data base.

They say the match came from Palen after he was arrested for rape and attempted murder in Madison, Wisconsin.

In late 2012, police say, Palen left his wife and children in Philadelphia and moved to Madison after meeting his victim online.

He pled guilty to the charges in Madison in June, but had been resisting extradition to Philadelphia.

He is charged in just two of the rapes he allegedly committed here.

One of the alleged victims has since passed away.

Philadelphia Police Lt. Anthony McFadden said at a press conference Tuesday, "Mr. Palen has been charged with two counts of rape and attempted murder and aggravated assault on a pattern investigation that here at Special Victims developed back in August of 2011."

Palen was arraigned on those charges on Monday. He is being held on $10 million bail.
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philly newsrapeassaultDNANortheast Philadelphia
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