Friday, August 10, 2012

Robert Stevenson

Robert Stevenson
It was early Tuesday morning, Janu­ary 4, 1983, not even the better part of a week into the new year. Hours earlier, the woman, age undisclosed to protect her anonymity, had arrived home from Work, exhausted from a busy evening at her job. She was so tired when she climbed on the bus in downtown Port­land’s transit mall that she hadn’t no­ticed the wild-eyed man staring at her. He, too, boarded the bus and rode sitting several seats behind her into the woman’s neighborhood, Southeast Portland’s Mount Scott area. When the woman exit­ed from the front of the bus, the man likewise exited, from the rear door.
Unknown to the woman, the man fol­lowed her from a distance and watched her until she went inside. He then disap­peared, perhaps to watch her through her windows as she drew her bath and later prepared for bed. Or perhaps he returned to his own home, for the moment. No one, except the man, knows for certain.
Following her bath, the attractive woman prepared herself a late-night snack which she ate while she watched television and wound down from her hectic day. She lived alone and had led a peaceful life. Like most people, the woman really had never had to fear much for her own personal safety, at least not until this cold wintry night.
The woman fell asleep while watching television, and when she awoke it was 1:30 a.m. Sleepy-eyed, she turned off the television and made her way to her bedroom, forgetting to check to see if she had locked her front door. Within moments after slipping underneath the cov­ers, the woman was sound asleep again. Oblivious of her environment, she didn’t hear the front door to her apartment open and close.
An hour or so later, a few minutes past 2:30 a.m., the woman was aroused from her sound sleep by the sound of one of her dresser drawers being opened and closed. Another sound, perhaps a foot­step, fully awakened her. When she looked towards the foot of her bed, she saw a dark, human silhouette, unmistak­ably that of a man. She quickly sat up­right in her bed and began to scream.
The man, brandishing a long-pointed knife, rushed over to the woman and grabbed her by the hair, clasping his hand tightly over her mouth as he did so. He told her not to scream and said if she complied, he wouldn’t hurt her. He or­dered her not to look at his face. When she saw the gleam of the outside street­light shining in through her window and reflecting off the blade of the knife, she fearfully nodded her head in compliance. He placed the knife under her chin and stuffed a sock inside her mouth as he pushed her back down on the bed and forced her to lie on her stomach. He bound her hands behind her back with a pair of her own pantyhose.
The man violently ripped the woman’s undergarments from her slender body. As she whimpered in near silence, the only sounds being her own sobs and his heavy breathing, the man removed his .trousers and his briefs. He then violently entered his helpless victim. With each rhythmic, passionless movement, the woman bit down on the sock that had been stuffed into her mouth. The attack had seemed like it would never end, and she reflected later that the man hadn’t seemed to have derived any sexual pleas­ure from the ordeal. He merely had seemed interested in roughing up and humiliating her.
When he was finished with his victim, the rapist told the frightened, sobbing woman not to call the police. He told her he would be watching and that if she notified the authorities he would know about it and come back later. He then left the woman lying naked and bound on the bed, and fled into the darkness of the cold winter morning.
After freeing herself from the bound position the rapist had left her in, the woman disobeyed his warnings about calling the police and dialed the 9-1-1 emergency dispatch number. She frantically explained what had happened to her, and a sympathetic dispatcher as­sured her that help was on the way. In the meantime, she was kept on the line so that a Multnomah County Victims As­sistance Program volunteer could talk to her until police arrived.
Ten minutes later a patrol car and an ambulance arrived at the Mount Scott apartment complex. Amid sobs and shiv­ers, the woman told the police officers what had happened. Afterwards, she was taken to a local hospital where she was examined for signs of injury. She was given a tranquilizer, and vaginal swabs were obtained. Pubic hair samples were also taken, as were hairs from other parts of her body. When the physicians and the police officers were finished with her, the confused and shaken woman was driven home where she would relive the horror of the violent ordeal in her mind again and again.
The woman had described her attacker as a white male in his mid-to-late 20s, 5 feet 8 or 10 inches tall with a slender build. She told police that his hair was dark. Unfortunately, the woman had been unable to provide police with a bet­ter description of her assailant, primarily because it was too dark but also because she had been too frightened to look at his face after being ordered not to do so. The sketchy details were turned over to De­tective David Foesch of the Portland Po­lice Bureau’s sex crimes unit. He, too, talked with the victim but, unfortunate­ly, was unable to eke out any additional details about the rapist.
Early the following month, February, another rape occurred in Portland’s Mount Scott area. It was between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. when the assailant entered the 24-year-old woman’s home. She lat­er said she was unsure of the exact time because she didn’t know precisely what time he entered, and she was uncertain as to how long he stayed. At any rate, she was awakened when he climbed into bed with her.
Like the previous rape, the man struck early in the morning and stuffed a sock into the woman’s mouth to keep her qui­et. Also like the previous case, he bound her hands and brandished a knife, and ordered her to keep quiet. He promised not to hurt her if she cooperated. Unlike the previous case, however, he placed a pair of pantyhose over her face and wrap­ped them around her head, an obvious attempt to prevent her from seeing his face.
The rapist tore off the woman’s under­garments, and cut off her panties with his knife. When he had completely stripped the young woman, he gently ran the sharp, pointed blade of his knife over her body, cutting her slightly. He then vi­ciously raped the woman, after which he attempted to sodomize her. However, he was unable to gain entry during the sod­omy attempt, and he fled. After regaining some of her composure, the victim noti­fied the police of her terrifying experi­ence.
The February rape seemed related to the rape of January 4th primarily because of the description, albeit sketchy, of the perpetrator as well as that of his modus operandi. It was also determined that he had entered the victim’s apartment in the February attack through an unlocked door.
With the striking similarities between the two cases, not to mention the fact that the rapes occurred in the same section of the city, investigators had little doubt that they were dealing with the same perpetrator in both cases. But until they could get a better description of the rap­ist, the detectives had little hope of track­ing him down. He simply wasn’t leaving many clues behind.
By April 1983, a man fitting the gen­eral description of the Mount Scott rapist had entered the homes of two additional women, each time through unlocked doors. However, the assailant wasn’t successful in ‘completing the rape, as each of the two intended victims had frightened the man away by screaming before he’d had a chance to overpower them. In both cases, the man had been wielding a knife.
By this time, both county and city lawmen had their hands full trying to clear a number of unsolved rapes that stretched into all corners of the city and into East Multnomah County. It wasn’t clear whether the Mount Scott rapist was being considered as the possible perpe­trator in any of the cases, but it is doubt­ful that investigators let any of the cases slip by without comparing them to the Mount Scott cases. Before the case was solved, sex crimes detectives would also look into rapes that occurred in outlying Washington, Clackamas and Yamhill Counties and the cities of Beaverton and Lake Oswego, Oregon. Comparing cases with lawmen in other jurisdictions and attempting to run down the leads such comparisons generated was frus­trating, to say the least, for the Portland detectives. What was even more frustrat­ing for the sex crimes investigators was yet another rape to be added to the city’s growing unsolved rapes list.
On Wednesday, April 20th a few min­utes before 3:00 a.m., a man entered the apartment of a pretty 27-year-old female Mount Scott resident. She had been asleep for hours when she was suddenly awakened by a noise in her bedroom. When she opened her eyes she saw, much to her horror, a man standing near the foot of her bed, holding a knife in his hand. Naturally, she screamed as the man ran towards her.
“Don’t scream,” he ordered the woman as he put his hand over her mouth. “I don’t want to hurt you. Are you going to scream again if I take my hand away?” The woman shook her head, indicating to him that she wouldn’t. But when he removed his hand she began to scream again, at which point the man clasped his hand over her mouth again and placed the knife against her soft throat. She began to struggle, but soon stopped out of fear that the man would slit her throat.
While holding a knife firmly against the woman’s throat, the man stuffed a sock in her mouth, tied her hands and undressed her. He then undressed him­self, unleashing an erect penis. Without warning he entered her violently, just as he had done with the others. He warned the woman repeatedly not to look at his face.
This time the attack lasted two and a half hours, and the assailant raped his victim four times. He attempted to sodomize her once, but failed. After­wards, the man untied his victim’s hands, removed the sock from her mouth and placed the knife on the floor beside the bed. Unlike the other rape cases, the man began to talk to his victim.
Seeing her chance to gain his confi­dence, the victim decided to converse with the rapist, obviously hoping to learn something about him that might be use­ful to police. During the course of the conversation, the man told his victim that he was married and had two chil­dren, but that he was having sexual prob­lems with his wife. He told the victim that he was a good pool player, and that he often played pool for money at a Southeast Portland tavern. Eventually the man got dressed and prepared to leave. But before he left he warned the woman not to call the police. She prom­ised that she wouldn’t.
As soon as she felt certain that the rapist had left the neighborhood, the woman called the police department. When the officers arrived she gave them a description of her assailant, which was similar to earlier descriptions by prior victims but nearly as sketchy. She did say, however, that she gave the man her business card and asked him to call her after promising him that she wouldn’t call the police. She said that her intent was, of course, to have her phone moni­tored by police should he decide to call her.
The latest rape victim was taken to a nearby hospital where swabs were used to obtain samples of semen from her va­gina, after which they were dipped into acid phosphatase. When the swabs turned a bright pinkish-purple color, it was confirmed that semen was indeed present and additional samples were tak­en for testing to determine the perpetra­tor’s blood type.
Unlike the previous victims, the rapist spent a considerable amount of time in the latest victim’s apartment. Although investigators searched in vain for evi­dence in all the previous victims’ apart­ments, they felt more hopeful that some conclusive evidence would turn up in this latest victim’s home because of the pro­longed time the rapist had spent there. However, by the time they had finished processing her apartment for clues, their efforts proved to have been just as futile as in the earlier cases. They left with nothing that was considered significant. He was either extremely careful or very lucky, or both, sleuths agreed.
By the end of June, the so-called Mount Scott rapist had claimed two more victims, this time men. It appeared to the investigators that he no longer cared what gender he had sex with just as long as he was able to commit rape.
In both of the male rape cases, the attacker struck in the early morning hours, between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. After subduing his male victims by threatening them with a knife, he lubricated himself and penetrated them anally. In one of the cases, he bound his victim’s hands with a telephone cord.
Both of the male victims, ages undis­closed, reported the attacks to police. When they compared the reports with the other Mount Scott rape cases, they learned that the rapist’s modus operandi was the same, right down to stuffing the sock in the victims’ mouth to threatening them with a knife. But this time he had raped male victims.
These latest attacks brought the case out into the open. Neighborhood associa­tions began to get more organized, resi­dents began expressing their fear and out­rage, and more media attention was giv­en to the Mount Scott rapist. The police bureau issued urgent warnings to the public, and acknowledged the possibility that the rapist could lay claim to many more victims than authorities are aware of, particularly since investigators be­lieved that men may be more reluctant to report a sexual assault than women.
“The way our society approaches rape and sodomy, we’ve thought women were the victims,” said the director of the Multnomah County Victims Assistance Program. “It’s very difficult for men to report. Other men have difficulty under­standing how another man can be assault­ed, but it happens when one is more forceful than the other. When people see normal men in their homes and some individual decides to attack them, it shows that anyone can (become a vic­tim).”
According to the latest studies on rape, the victim is likely to be an unmarried female under the age of 25 from a low-in­come family and away from her home at the time of the attack. The studies show that the assaults will likely occur between 6:00 p.m. and midnight, and that the rap­ist will more often than not be a stranger to the victim. He will also likely be of the same race of the victim and unarmed.
However, the method of operation of the Mount Scott rapist was contrary to the latest studies’ findings on nearly every count. All of the assaults except one at­tributed to him were committed after midnight, between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. Most of the Mount Scott rapist’s victims were over 25, and most were inside their homes at the time they were attacked. He was always armed with a knife, and he liked to rape men as well as women, although he did prefer victims who lived alone.
Meanwhile, with the cooperation of the Portland Police Bureau, the Mult­nomah County, Clackamas County and Yamhill County Sheriff’s Departments, substantial progress was made regarding the string of rapes and attempted rapes that occurred throughout the Portland metropolitan area and the outlying com­munities since the first part of 1983. After compiling reports and making coopera­tive comparisons between the various law enforcement agencies, investigators began to see a definite pattern emerging and were able to attribute at least half a dozen rapes and two attempted rapes to the so-called Mount Scott rapist and were able to rule him out as a possible perpetra­tor in numerous other cases. It appeared that he was operating strictly in the Mount Scott area. Unfortunately, the overworked investigators lacked the identification of the perpetrator and had no one they could zero in on as yet.
In the meantime, an additional alert was issued; it was aimed primarily at Mount Scott residents, both women and men who lived alone. Residents were warned that a rapist was at large in their community, and that he attacked people who are home alone, usually after they have gone to sleep. In a press release issued by the sheriff’s department, the rapist was described as a white male, age 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall, with a thin to medium build. He was described as having brown hair, long enough to cover his ears and possibly the collar of his shirt. The report said it was possible that the assailant wore a thin mustache. The alert said it was also possi­ble the rapist watched his victims’ homes prior to entry to make certain they were home alone.
As the attacks continued in the Mount Scott area, neighbors pulled closer to­gether and began keeping a watchful eye on each other. Fliers offering self-de­fense classes to women and girls older than 10 were printed up and circulated throughout the area. Neighborhoods Against Crime, a police-sponsored pro­gram aimed at teaching residents to help fight crime in their neighborhoods, set up more Neighbor Watch programs than ever before in this neighborhood that was literally living in fear.
“Mount Scott has not been a very ac­tive neighborhood association, but it’s starting to pull together now,” said a Neighborhoods Against Crime area co­ordinator. It’s almost been a blessing in disguise. They needed to get organized, and this is doing it. I’m sorry that some­thing this serious is what it takes.”
“It’s their fault if they’re that stupid not to lock their doors nowadays,” said one resident referring to the victims. “You see warnings to lock your doors in the papers and on television and radio. We keep our doors locked and pull the shades when it gets dark. We have an alarm system so we sleep a little better at night, and if I can’t sleep, I turn on my police scanner.”
“Some people are even apprehensive about opening their doors when we pass out fliers,” said a representative of the Mount Scott Neighborhood Association who helped pass out fliers, issued by the police, which described the rapist and urged residents to call the 9-1-1 emer­gency dispatch number if they had any information or suspicious circumstances to report.
By mid-July, the Guardian Angels, a volunteer safety patrol group founded in New York, began early-morning patrols of the Mount Scott neighborhoods. The Angels’ primary patrol area was the downtown transit mall, but after learning of the series of rapes attributed to one man, they moved some of their people Into the neighborhoods where the attacks occurred.
“We read the articles in the paper and wanted residents to know that we’re not just concerned about the downtown area, so we volunteered our services,” said the founder of the Portland chapter of the Guardian Angels. “We don’t want peo­ple to have to change the way they live because some crazy guy is on the loose.”
In the meantime, a trusting, vulnera­ble 13-year-old girl was invited to a Southwest Portland home of a man to help clean it. While at the house, the girl, who was a friend of the male resident’s family, was raped. The incident was re­ported to police, but before the suspect could be apprehended, he had raped two more women, ages 19 and 23, at knifepoint.
According to police reports, the male subject raped one woman, sodomized the second and then ordered the two to per­form sexual acts together in his presence. The victims told police that the assailant “pricked” both of them with the knife and threatened their lives if they didn’t perform the sex acts for him.
Police eventually arrested 27-year-old David Isaac Maimon and charged him with first-degree rape, first-degree sod­omy and first-degree sexual abuse. He pleaded innocent to the charges.
While in police custody, detectives in­vestigating the Mount Scott rapes seri­ously looked at Maimon as a possible suspect in that string of unsolved rapes, primarily because of the crimes he was accused of, his age and because a knife had been involved. However, the Mount Scott attacks continued by a perpetrator using the same method of operation, and Maimon was eventually eliminated as a suspect. Maimon was eventually con­victed and sentenced to prison, however, for the crimes with which he had been charged.
Meanwhile, as 1983 came to a close and the Mount Scott rapist had still not been apprehended, Portland detectives worked round-the-clock checking out possible leads. One such lead involved the report of a 24-year-old woman who had been abducted at knifepoint from the corner of Southwest Fourth Avenue and Taylor Street in downtown Portland at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 3rd. According to police reports, the woman had been forced into a car where her hands and mouth were bound with surgi­cal tape. According to Detective David Foesch, the woman was driven to a loca­tion underneath the Ross Island Bridge, where she was raped. The man threat­ened to kill her with the knife, and did in fact cut her body three times. After­wards, the victim was driven to Cotton­wood Park in Clackamas County, where she was led into some brush and released. A week later, police arrested a 21-year- old Portland man and charged him with various crimes. Although he was looked at as a possible suspect in the Mount Scott rapes, he was eventually eliminated as the perpetrator in those crimes.
As the Portland detectives continued their search for the elusive Mount Scott rapist, another attack occurred involving a knife, this time in nearby Beaverton. According to police reports, a man en­tered a woman’s apartment located in a complex in the 4900 block of Southwest Jamieson Road, through an unlocked window at approximately 1:00 a.m.
All the while threatening the 20-year-­old woman with a knife, the rapist forced her to undress completely, after which he tied her hands. During the attack, the rapist fondled the woman’s breasts and vagina, after which he forced her to draw her knees up to her chest so that he could achieve greater penetration. He raped the woman violently, and then left hurriedly when he was finished. The woman called the police.
After reviewing the methods of the Beaverton rapist and noting several dif­ferences from those of the Southeast Portland rapist, police were satisfied that the Beaverton incident wasn’t the work of the Mount Scott rapist.
However, another rape that occurred earlier in the year that fit the M.O. of the Mount Scott rapist was revealed by the police. According to the report, a woman claimed that a man burst into her apartment located in the 3700 block of South­east 20th Place at approximately 11:30 p.m. The man picked up a knife from the kitchen, then grabbed the woman and her infant son. He threatened the woman with a knife and ordered her to commit an act of sodomy, and told her he would cut her son’s throat if she failed to obey his commands.
When she had satisfied him, the man raped the woman and penetrated her sex­ually with a foreign object. Police did not reveal what that object was. After he left, the woman called the police.
When they arrived, the horrified vic­tim told the officers that the attack had lasted approximately 20 minutes. Al­though she had never seen the man be­fore, she told the officers, the rapist called the woman by her name during the attack. The woman told police that she could identify her attacker if she saw him again. She described him as having brown hair, a mustache, acne scars and a tattoo on his right arm. The woman said that she could not recall details of the tattoo, but said that it was on the arm that the rapist used to hold her by her neck. Admittedly, it wasn’t enough to nail the rapist as yet because detectives had no suspects to focus on at this point, but it was the best description of the attacker that police had so far obtained.
On January 29, 1984 another rape oc­curred, this time in Lake Oswego near Southwest Longfellow and Childs Roads. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department, a man en­tered a woman’s home during the early morning hours and sexually assaulted the woman, after which he stole several items of jewelry, including two gold chains with pendants, a jade matte finish reptilian bird pendant and a solid gold circle the size of a dime.
The man was described as white, 25-30 years old, blond hair and mustache, approximately 5 feet 7 inches in height and about 165 pounds. He was described as having a “rough, pockmarked com­plexion.” Police said that he was last seen wearing a brown leather jacket, a multi-colored Velour shirt with a zip-up collar, faded designer jeans and high-top black leather boots. The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Department shared what they had about the incident with the Portland Police Bureau after noting that the perpetrator had a “pockmarked com­plexion” that could have resulted from acne scars, but there was simply too much dissimilarity in the suspect’s de­scription to conclude that he was the Mount Scott rapist at that point.
After months of checking and rechecking leads, trying to tie the various cases together and obtain a profile of the rapist, detectives finally received their long-sought lead in the case. As it turned out a woman by the name of Cindy Beck­er informed investigators that she be­lieved the rapist was her former boy­friend, 27-year-old Robert W. Steven­son. She told police that Stevenson con­fessed the crimes to her.
As a result of the new lead, Detective David Foesch, who had been working on the case for nearly two years, went to Stevenson’s apartment located in down­town Portland in the 900 block of South­west Salmon Street, where Stevenson was arrested in connection with the rapes. He was lodged in the Justice Cen­ter Jail, and bail was set at $250,000.
On Monday and Tuesday, March 18 and 19, 1985, Stevenson was picked out of a lineup of six similarly dressed men with similar physical characteristics by two of the numerous victims of assaults attributed to the Mount Scott rapist. As a result of the lineup identifications, Ste­venson was charged with 14 felony crimes including six counts of rape, four counts of burglary, two counts of at­tempted sodomy and single counts of sodomy and sexual penetration with a foreign object. He pleaded innocent to those charges, but it was pointed out that additional charges may be filed as a re­sult of future lineups.
Stevenson’s first trial began on Mon­day, June 10, 1985 in the Multnomah County Circuit courtroom of Judge Don­ald Kalberer. Deputy District Attorney John Foote outlined the case for the jury, and focused on the April 20, 1983 attack of the 27-year-old Southeast Portland woman who picked the defendant out of a police lineup.
“That’s him…There is no doubt in my mind,” said the victim as she pointed her finger directly at Stevenson. The woman continued her testimony by telling the jurors details of the attack in her apart­ment which, she said, lasted two and a half hours.
The woman explained how she awoke and saw a man standing near the foot of her bed. She said she screamed, and the man drew a knife. “He put his hand over my mouth to keep me from screaming and said, ‘Don’t scream. I don’t want to hurt you.’ Then he put the knife under my chin at my neck…I started to fight.”
The woman said she soon gave up struggling with the man because she feared for her life. She said that the man, holding a knife to her throat, stuffed a sock in her mouth, tied her hands and raped her four times. She said that when the man had finished, he untied her hands, removed the sock and placed the knife on the floor, after which he began talking about his personal problems, in­cluding the fact that he was a good pool player. She said he even told her the name of the tavern where he played pool for money.
Stevenson’s attorney, Angel Lopez, told jurors that his client had been wrong­ly identified by the victim. He said that Stevenson had a noticeably broken nose, deep acne scars and a tattoo on his shoul­der, characteristics that Lopez contend­ed the victim failed to point out to police. Lopez told jurors that the state had virtu­ally no conclusive physical evidence that linked his client to the April 20, 1983 attack.
It was, however, pointed out by a wit­ness that Stevenson was a resident of the Mount Scott area at the time of the at­tacks. The witness said police com­posite drawing was circulated in the area at the time of the attacks, and that Steven­son at one point said he “thought he knew who the Mount Scott rapist was.” The witness testified that Stevenson was known to have had marital sexual prob­lems at that time, and that he often played pool for money at the Southeast Portland tavern mentioned by the victim.
Cindy Becker, Stevenson’s ex-girlfriend, testified that Stevenson once told her that he was the man known as the Mount Scott rapist. She told the jury that she and Stevenson were living together downtown at the time of the conversa­tion. Stevenson told her that he had lived near the men and women he victimized. Becker said that Stevenson admitted he would stay downtown after he got off work, and commit the crimes while on his way home.
“He was crying and holding his head, his voice was cracking and his words coming out haltingly,” testified Cindy Becker. “He said, ‘What you’ve been seeing is that I’m the Mount Scott rap­ist,’ ” she told jurors Stevenson said.”He told me the year before (in 1984), after a few drinking bouts, he had stopped off in a few apartments to do some bur­glaries and upon finding people in bed, raped them…He would tie them up and rape them.”
Becker told jurors that she had “vi­sions” of Stevenson as “someone who was violent toward women” since their first date, which was in March 1984. Becker said she turned Stevenson in to police because, “I wanted to get him off the street and get some help for him.”
In his closing arguments, Prosecutor Foote told the jury that information given to the victim of April 20, 1983 by the man who raped her was information that was identical to Robert Wayne Stevenson “on at least 33 points.”
“It’s true that the state couldn’t get evidence in this case,” said Foote. “But the victim is proof beyond a reasonable doubt all by herself…Every woman this man has touched, he has hurt…It’s time to end that pain and find him guilty.”
Following barely three and a half hours of deliberations, a Multnomah County Circuit Court jury found Robert W. Ste­venson guilty of four counts of first-de­gree rape and one count each of first-de­gree burglary and attempted first-degree sodomy stemming from the April 20, 1983 attack against the 27-year-old Southeast Portland female resident.
Judge Donald Kalberer ordered a pre-sentence investigation report, but did not set a sentencing date. Stevenson, however, faced 20 years in prison on each of the first-degree rape convictions. The first-degree burglary and attempted first-degree sodomy convictions likely will be merged with the rape convictions for purposes of sentencing.
At the time of this writing, Stevenson faced three additional trials involving multiple sexual offenses stemming from assaults attributed to the Mount Scott rapist.

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