A San Bernardino County man has been convicted of multiple rape and molestation attacks involving underage victims.
Kevin Michael Konther, 57, of Highland, faces up to 140 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on March 21, said the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Both Konther and his twin brother were arrested in January 2019 after a genetic investigation connected the siblings to DNA from the 1995 rape of a 9-year-old girl in Lake Forest and the 1998 rape of a 32-year-old female jogger in Mission Viejo.
Authorities say Konther initially accused his twin brother of the crimes, but secretly recorded conversations between the pair revealed “multiple incriminating statements made by Kevin, including admissions that he carried out the crimes,” court documents said.
The first incident occurred on Oct. 21, 1995 when a 9-year-old girl was walking home through Serrano Creek Park after buying school supplies. Konther grabbed the girl and pulled her down an embankment and into a secluded area, authorities said.
“He told the girl not to scream and threatened that he had a knife,” officials said. “She begged him not to hurt her but he ignored her pleas” and forcibly raped her.
“The girl was forced to cover her naked body with the notebooks and pencils she had just bought as she ran home naked to tell her mother about the rape,” authorities said.
The second incident occurred on June 2, 1998 when a 32-year-old woman was jogging on a trail in Mission Viejo.
Authorities say Konther, who was completely naked except for his shoes, jumped out of the bushes and grabbed the woman while covering her mouth.
“He dragged her down an embankment into a secluded wooded area next to the trail, removed her clothing, and then forcibly raped her before running away,” court documents said.
DNA collected from the woman’s attack matched the suspect’s DNA in the rape of the 9-year-old girl.
In 2018, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department used “investigative genetic genealogy to develop leads” on the suspect.
During the investigation, a third victim was discovered — the 12-year-old daughter of Konther’s ex-girlfriend.
Konther had molested the 12-year-old “while she pretended to be asleep between 1999 and 2003,” officials said.
“What monster jumps out of the bushes to rape an innocent little girl and then forces her to walk home naked while this child desperately tries to cover herself with anything she can until she can get home to the safety of her mother’s arms?” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “And when he doesn’t get caught, he pulls another jogger into the bushes and rapes her. And when he doesn’t get caught again, he preys on an innocent young girl who has no choice but to be in the same house as him. Without the advances in DNA technology, we may have never been able to solve this case.”
Konther was convicted by a jury of two felony counts of forcible rape, two felony counts of forcible oral copulation, one felony count of a forcible lewd act upon a child, and one felony count of a lewd and lascivious act with a minor.