Pennypack rapist gets 30 to 60 years


A Pennypack Park rapist’s prison bid just got a lot longer.

Common Pleas Court Judge Gwendolyn Bright ordered former Holmesburg resident Robert Palen to serve 30 to 60 years in state prison for the 2010 and ’11 rapes of two women he picked up alongside Torresdale Avenue in Tacony. Palen has already been serving a sentence of eight years and three months in Wisconsin for raping and beating another woman there in 2013.

A Philadelphia jury convicted Palen in the two local attacks last April. Both victims testified during a three-day trial, detailing how Palen approached each woman near Torresdale and Disston Street and convinced them to get into his white utility pickup truck. The 2010 victim said she agreed to have sex with Palen in exchange for cash. The 2011 victim said Palen offered to let her charge her phone in the truck and give her a ride home.

Instead, Palen drove each woman to the area of Cresco Avenue and Rhawn Street, where he pulled them into the woods and raped them. Palen also beat the 2011 victim, breaking her nose and leaving her face covered in blood.

Palen is also suspected of raping a third woman under similar circumstances in 2012, but she died from unrelated causes before authorities were able to pin any of the crimes on Palen. So he was not charged with attacking her.

Police identified Palen as the Pennypack rapist through a DNA match after authorities in Madison, Wisconsin, arrested him for a 2013 rape and beating there. ••