TRESPASSES: Portrait of a Serial Rapist by Howard Swindle

TRESPASSES: Portrait of a Serial Rapist

Email this review


Swindle, a Dallas Morning News editor, investigates the five-year rampage of the Ski Mask Rapist, a Dallas man still convinced that many of his attacks were seductions. Gilbert Escobedo was a successful businessman and an active church member with a devoted fianc‚e and a loving family. But from 1985 to 1990, he committed as many as 100 rapes. One of at least three serial rapists active at the time in Dallas, Escobedo took pride in his penchant for selecting attractive, educated women as his victims and sneered at the police force he continually eluded. The narrative skillfully describes the methods police used to establish the modus operandi of the Ski Mask Rapist, a profile that eventually led to Escobedo's capture and confession. Escobedo cooperated only minimally with Swindle (Deliberate Indifference, 1993), who focuses on the women who were his physical and emotional victims. Escobedo's former fianc‚e remains haunted by the knowledge that during their relationship he returned to their bed after the assaults. While most of Escobedo's victims were devastated by the attacks, some never reported them; one woman viewed the rape almost casually, and another wound up falling in love with Escobedo and becoming his business partner. By Escobedo's own account, women in Dallas simply neglect to lock their windows. While Swindle attempts to make sense of Escobedo in the context of modern feminist views on rape, given his subject's reticence and the fact that no forensic psychiatrist examined him, Swindle wisely avoids attempting a deep analysis of his psyche. Escobedo, who married after his conviction, insists he has rediscovered God and can't resist the notion that many victims welcomed his advances. A remarkable insight into the minds of rape victims, and a brave attempt to study the darker recesses of violence and human sexuality.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Viking