Robert Louis Dear — the right-wing Christian terrorist who attacked a Planned Parenthood location in Colorado Springs — was a violent, woman-hating serial offender with a history of sexual assault and domestic violence. An ex-wife said in court documents that the 57-year-old believes that “as long as he’s saved” by Jesus Christ, “he can do whatever he pleases.”
According to the Charleston Post and Courier, Dear was arrested in 1992 for the rape of a woman he accosted at her job at a Charleston mall. When she declined his advances, he stalked her to her home and reportedly raped her at knife-point.
In divorce documents from 1993, one of Dear’s three ex-wives described the killer as controlling, abusive and serially unfaithful. He routinely gambled away the family’s money, she said, but was ever reluctant to provide for his wife and children financially.
Hot-tempered and unstable, he “erupts into fury in a matter of seconds,” said Dear’s second wife Barbara Mescher to attorneys. In her time with Dear, she testified, she continually “lived in fear and dread of his emotional and physical abuse.”
“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions,” Mescher said. “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”
Dear was apprehended on Friday after killing three and injuring nine others during a five-hour rampage. Witnesses said that he was ranting about “baby parts” when taken into custody, an anti-Planned Parenthood talking point spawned by anti-choice extremists and parroted by Republican presidential candidates and conservative media.
The Post and Courier revealed that while the 1992 rape accusations against Dear never went to trial, court documents paint a graphic and horrifying picture of what reportedly took place.
The unnamed woman was an employee at Charleston’s Citadel Mall. Dear — who was married to Mesher at the time — made repeated advances toward her which she declined.
Dear reportedly began to harass the woman on and off the clock. He followed her to her home and on Nov. 29, 1992, he reportedly ambushed her as she attempted to take out the trash.
“The suspect then allegedly put a knife to the victim’s neck and forced her back inside her residence,” said a police report about the incident. “The suspect then allegedly forced the victim down into the couch, struck her in the mouth with his fist, and then sexually assaulted her.”
The assault continued with Dear dragging the woman into a bedroom and continuing to rape her there. When he left the house, the victim called a friend, who took her to the hospital where she reported Dear to the police.
“Dear has a history of arrests in South Carolina out of Colleton and Beaufort counties, records show,” said the Post and Courier‘s Glenn Smith and Melissa Boughton. “A background search completed by The Post and Courier found that Dear was arrested in 2003 on a cruelty to animals charge but was found not guilty in 2004. He was charged under the state’s Peeping Tom law in 2002 but that charge, too, was later dismissed, according to a background search.”
An ex-wife called police in 1997 after a beating from Dear, but like the Charleston rape victim, she ultimately declined to press charges.