5 Years For Rape Of Child -- Trial In California May Be Next

A Seattle man who prosecutors say has a history of manipulating women and abusing youths has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for raping a child. The man faces trial in California in connection with the disappearance of one of his sons seven years ago.

During sentencing in King County Superior Court yesterday, Ulysses H. Roberson, 42, insisted he was innocent. But Judge Arthur Piehler, declaring Roberson, "guilty as sin," gave the highest sentence allowed under state guidelines.

A jury in April found Roberson guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl he lured from the University District to his South Seattle apartment under the pretense he would give her a job with his cosmetics company.

Deputy Prosecutor Mark Larson, in asking for an exceptional sentence of 25 years, said Roberson is a career criminal who has dominated and manipulated women into turning over their paychecks to him and has repeatedly abused children.

Larson said the intricate ruse of his phony company indicates the sophistication and planning Roberson would put into his crimes.

Prosecutors in El Dorado County in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., have filed extradition papers with Washington and are seeking to try Roberson on a child-concealment charge in connection with the 1985 disappearance of his son, Alex.

Assistant District Attorney Bob Drossel, said California authorities have a "strong suspicion" the child may be dead but will not file murder charges unless a body is found.

The child-concealment charges carries a prison term of about four years.

The boy was 4 years old when he was reported missing. The mother, Judy Olive, said Roberson was beating the boy the last time she saw him alive.

In 1987, a King County jury convicted Roberson of two counts of second-degree assault for beating another son on Mercer Island. The 8-year-old boy was found hiding under a neighbor's bush.

Roberson fled before he could be sentenced on the 1987 conviction, assaulted Olive and was at-large until arrested on the Seattle rape charge in April 1991.

Roberson has since received a five-year sentence for the 1987 crime.

Authorities say Roberson became involved with at least four women, each thinking herself his wife, and fathered as many as nine children.

Larson said a notebook taken from one of the women showed he had established a cult-like mentality. The notes described key rules including, "total trust, loyalty and decisiveness."

Olive said Roberson pulled mostly educated, working women into his circle.

Olive said each woman handed over her paycheck to Roberson, who constantly shuttled the "family" between homes in Southern California, Sacramento, the Bay Area, Lake Tahoe and Seattle.