An example of handcuffs being placed on a subject.
An example of handcuffs being placed on a suspect not involved in story. Photo from Pixabay.

The second alleged member of a “rape crew” accused of terrorizing and sexually assaulting multiple women in the Inland Empire was under arrest in Las Vegas Friday, awaiting extradition back to the region to answer a string of charges.

Bernard Saddler, 23, of San Bernardino was taken into custody by Clark County, Nevada, sheriff’s deputies last month. He’s being held without bail and is expected to be returned to California within weeks.

Saddler and 42-year-old Kenneth Earl Watson, also of San Bernardino, are charged in San Bernardino County with forcible rape, kidnapping to commit rape, robbery, making criminal threats and street terrorism.

Watson is additionally charged in Riverside County with forcible rape, forced oral copulation and sodomy by force or fear. He’s being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Robert Presley Jail and is slated to appear for a status conference at the Riverside Hall of Justice on March 24.

Investigators from the Ontario, Riverside and San Bernardino police departments allege the duo, collectively identified as a “rape crew,” separately or jointly perpetrated at least five sexual assaults in the Inland Empire between October 2018 and February 2020. Authorities believe there may be other victims, as yet unidentified.

Watson alone is suspected of raping a woman in Portland, Oregon, last year, but no charges have been filed there, according to the Riverside Police Department.

RPD spokesman Officer Javier Cabrera said in a statement that on Feb. 3, 2020, the defendant allegedly targeted a woman walking in the 1700 block of University Avenue, on the east side of the city.

“The suspect persuaded the victim to get into his vehicle, at which time he violently sexually assaulted her,” Cabrera alleged. “The victim was taken to a local hospital and spoke to investigators. DNA evidence gathered led to the identification of Kenneth Watson as the assailant.”

Watson was ultimately tracked down and arrested in Jurupa Valley last month.

Cabrera said collaboration between RPD and police in Ontario and San Bernardino pointed to a series of similar assaults allegedly perpetrated by Watson, as well as Saddler.

San Bernardino police Officer John Echevarria alleged that in the fall of 2019, a woman was walking in the area of Ninth and G streets, when she was “approached by Mr. Watson and Mr. Saddler.”

“The woman was grabbed, forced into a vehicle and forcibly raped,” Echevarria alleged.

DNA was again key in identifying the pair, he said.

Anyone who may have information about the crew or who may know of victims still not identified was urged to contact Riverside police Detective Janet Ramos at 951-826-8716, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.

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