BENICIA (CBS SF) — The Benicia man arrested for being the NorCal Rapist, whose attacks terrorized women from the Bay Area to Sacramento for more than 15 years, worked in obscurity on the UC Berkeley campus for the last 26 years, authorities said Friday.
According to the University, Waller was employed in the Environment, Health & Safety office as a Safety Specialist. His included managing programs to help ensure safety and training regarding the use of equipment and machinery including forklifts, aerial lifts, respirators, etc.
He was arrested by Sacramento detectives as he drove to work on Thursday.
“We were shocked today to learn that a campus employee was arrested in connection with a series of rapes that occurred more than a decade ago in several Northern California communities,” UC Berkeley said in a statement.”(Waller) is on investigative leave.”
Berkeley said it did not believe Waller had victimized any students over the years he has been on campus.
“According to UCPD and the Sacramento Police Department there is no indication that any crimes occurred within the campus community, however UCPD will be reviewing any open sexual assault cases to determine if any might be related,” the university said. “UCPD continues to work in cooperation with Sacramento police.”
“It’s really an unfortunate irony,” said UC Berkeley junior Nissma Bencheikh. “They hide in plain sight. You never really know what someone is capable of.”
“The fact that you can’t trust what the university like who they’re employing or the people that are responsible for our safety is very disheartening,” said senior Faith Reynolds.
The university said it has been fingerprinting employee applicants since 2004. It was not known if Waller had ever been fingerprinted, but it was a DNA test submitted to a genealogy website that led to his arrest.
Sacramento police chief Daniel Hahn said there was nothing out of the ordinary about Waller.
“The suspect is married and has had the same job for the last 25 years,” he said.
Hahn did not say if Waller had any children.
Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said Waller has been charged in Sacramento County — where two of his attacks allegedly occurred — with 12 counts of forcible sexual assault with allegations he used a gun and enhancements which if he is convicted will carry a life sentence.
He could face also charges in at least eight other sexual assaults in Solano and Sonoma counties.