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Article updated: 7/1/2013 8:13 PM

Bensenville rape victim confronts 'monster' who attacked her

By Josh Stockinger

A rape victim faced her attacker in DuPage County court Monday, calling him a "monster" who made her afraid to sleep in her own bed.

"Whether he is in jail or not, I live in fear," the woman said at sentencing for Kurt Serzen, who was convicted of breaking into her Bensenville home and assaulting her in August 1996.

The victim said she still suffers panic attacks and nightmares, nearly 17 years after waking up with a knife to her throat and a pillow over her head. Although it was "excruciatingly painful," she said, she testified against Serzen, 55, to protect those who otherwise "might be his next victim."

"I testified for those women," she said.

Serzen, a previously convicted sex offender, faces a maximum 60 years in prison for the sexual assault, which went unsolved until authorities in 2003 matched saliva taken from the victim's body to the defendant's DNA.

He was found guilty by Judge Robert Kleeman after a bench trial in 2011. The case has since been pending amid post-trial legal wrangling.

On Monday, psychologist Patricia Porter testified she believes Serzen is a sociopath who enjoys hurting others and has no consciousness of guilt. Her testimony followed that of suburban law enforcement officials who recounted numerous cases in which Serzen was suspected of window peeping or exposing himself.

The break in the rape case came after Serzen was convicted of sneaking into a Woodridge home and molesting a 16-year-old baby sitter in 1999. As a result of his conviction, his DNA profile went into a database of convicted felons.

Serzen, formerly of Addison, Elgin and Hanover Park, was acquitted in the early 1990s of at least three sexual assaults in Hillsborough County, Fla., where he was a night security guard at a hospital.

His attorney said the defendant could make a statement when the sentencing hearing resumes Tuesday morning.

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