SAN DIEGO - A notorious San Diego police case is being revisited Wednesday evening on cable TV and the host of the show has a close connection because she was a victim of the crime.
The program literally starts with a bang. You hear a gunshot and then a woman's voice says, "'He put a gun to my head.'"
"She asked him, 'What are you going to do next, rape me?' and he said, 'You bet your sweet [expletive] I am.'"
It is the opening sequence for the show "Surviving Evil" on the Investigation Discovery channel. Actress Charisma Carpenter of TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" is the host and sharing her story for the first time.
"Twenty years ago I was caught in a horrific real-life drama," she said.
That drama played out in San Diego: a series of rapes on local beaches from La Jolla to Solana Beach.
The rapist was Henry Hubbard, Jr., a soft-spoken patrol officer for the San Diego Police Department.
"He was a San Diego police officer, which is kind of what makes my story compelling," she said. "You expect a police officer to protect you, not attack you."
It was in 1992 that Hubbard tearfully apologized to his victims as he was sentenced to 56 years in prison for his guilty plea to eight rapes and robberies.
"I hope and pray that each of every one of you will fully recover from the pain and anguish I brought into your lives," he said.
Hubbard attacked Carpenter and two friends who were shot as they fought him. He ran off but left behind a crucial piece of evidence.
"It's a flashlight that had his name on it," Carpenter told 10News in a phone interview. "A police-issued Maglite … has his officer number and name engraved and I was able to hold on to that through the entire ordeal."
Carpenter says her new show will present stories of heroes and survival.
"A lot of us ... victims … a lot of victims … we don't even realize how damaged we are," she said. "Once you survive, then what? How do you handle being a victim and carrying on? And I think it was really hard for me and I needed to come to terms with the fact that I needed help."
She went into therapy for three years.
The San Diego Police Department was reeling, too. Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano was a lieutenant for SDPD when Hubbard was arrested and prosecuted.
"It's like a blow to the stomach," he said. "You're knocked down to your knees as an individual, as an organization. You're devastated, you're angry. You know we're here to protect others. It's like a member of your own family, you're victimized also."
Carpenter said she does not really remember Hubbard's apology but says, "There'll never be enough 'sorrys' to make up for his crimes."
She said she hopes to do a prison interview for a later show, if possible.