A transient accused of raping a homeless woman who was targeted while sleeping on a bus bench in Glendale was charged Tuesday with a series of felonies.
Michael Zinzun, 48, a registered sex offender, faces a possible life prison term if convicted of the charges, according to the District Attorney's Office.
He pleaded not guilty this afternoon in Glendale to charges of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by foreign object, kidnapping to commit rape and resisting arrest. He is due back in court in Glendale on Oct. 25.
A witness called 911 about 4 a.m. Sept. 29 to report a sexual assault in progress in the 300 block of Los Feliz Road, according to Glendale police Sgt. Robert William.
"Officers arrived on scene within minutes and located both the suspect and the female victim, who was still lying on the ground half nude and with visible injuries,'' William said. "The suspect attempted to flee from officers but was taken into custody after a short foot pursuit.''
Zinzun fought with police taking him into custody, and an officer sustained minor injuries, the sergeant said.
The 56-year-old victim was sleeping on a bus bench near the intersection of Los Feliz Road and Central Avenue and woke up when the suspect approached and tried to start a conversation, police said.
"After a short period of time, the suspect began sexually assaulting the victim and threatening to harm the victim if she did not stop screaming,'' William alleged. "The suspect then dragged the victim away from the bus bench and pushed her over to the other side of a small retaining wall where they were hidden from public view.
"The suspect then raped and sexually assaulted the victim,'' the sergeant alleged. "During this time, the victim also sustained trauma to her face due to repeatedly being punched by the suspect. A witness who observed the attack called 911.''
Zinzun is a registered sex offender "based out of the city of Pasadena and his original offense occurred in Florida,'' according to William.
Prosecutors said Zinzun was convicted in Florida of sexual assault in 1998 and burglary in 2005.
Detectives suspect Zinzun may be responsible for other sexual assaults and urged anyone with information to call them at (818) 548-4911.