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Convicted Rapist Says He’ll Settle In Commune

April 15, 1988 GMT

AZALEA, Ore. (AP) _ A rapist who found no home in California after being paroled last year will join a religious community in Oregon, the group’s leader says.

Lawrence Singleton, who is scheduled to be released from San Quentin state prison in California later this month, has been invited to join members of the Bride of Christ Church in Azalea, said Thomas Clyde Smith Jr., pastor of the fundamentalist sect.

Singleton was convicted Sept. 29, 1978, of raping a teen-age girl and chopping off her arms with an ax.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison but was released on parole last year. He spent the last 10 months of his parole in a mobile home on the grounds of San Quentin after a statewide outcry in California against allowing him to leave the prison.

Smith told KOIN-TV of Portland Thursday that he had spoken to Singleton by telephone.

″As we talked tonight, he realized there will be persecution,″ Smith said. ″But our home is open. He’s got to live somewhere. Society wants to kill him. We just want to help him.″

Smith said Singleton did not set a date for moving to Azalea.

The church has 12 properties in this rural community, Smith said. About 65 church members live there. The sect moved to Oregon from Las Vegas, Nev., in 1984.

Smith said he also owns several businesses, including the Alpha Cabinet Manufacturing Plant in Canyonville, and the Alpha Construction Co. in Portland.

Singleton’s victim, Mary Vincent, announced earlier this week that her attorney has filed a $2.4 million Nevada lawsuit judgment against Singleton in California. The filing automatically allowed her to seek enforcement of the judgment in California.