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Jury acquits suspect in one of three rape cases

The former Tampa General Hospital security guard suspected in the Town 'N Country serial rapes and charged with attacks on three women has been found innocent in one of the cases.

Kurt Serzen, 34, was acquitted last week in an attack at the Players Club Apartments on March 29, 1991. A jury found him innocent on three charges of sexual battery and one charge of armed burglary.

Hillsborough sheriff's detectives said a man broke through a sliding glass door at the Town 'N Country complex and attacked a 26-year-old woman at knife point.

At the time of his arrest in March, detectives considered Serzen a suspect in up to 10 sexual assaults in the Town 'N Country area. In each case, the rapist wore latex gloves, brandished a knife and talked _ obscene, sexually explicit talk.

Serzen has been charged with two additional attacks, including the March 3 assault at a Memorial Highway apartment complex. Both cases will go to trial in December.

Public Defender Gary Welch, who represented Serzen last week, said investigators conducted DNA tests on hair and body fluid samples but could not connect any evidence to Serzen.

"They didn't have a case," he said.

After his arrest, Serzen was fired from his night job as a security guard at Tampa General Hospital. Hospital officials said he had falsified his employment application and lied about his arrest record. Serzen had a 1989 arrest for false imprisonment, battery and aggravated assault.

Serzen was being held without bail Wednesday at the Hillsborough County Jail.

_ MARTY ROSEN

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