Over a 2-year time period, James Bergstrom raped at least five women, including a 15-year-old old, and attacked at least 35.
When Linda met James Bergstrom when she was 20 years, she thought he was a nice Catholic boy. Her family had a problem with him calling the house incessantly, but Linda didn’t see that as a red flag at the time.
Although James was very kind to Linda at first and often gave her gifts, he could get very jealous. One night Linda didn’t answer a late-night phone call because she knew it was him, and he retaliated by driving “like a maniac” in front of her house. Two minutes later James called again and acted as if nothing had happened.
James didn’t ask Linda to marry him before he joined the Navy, he told her to get married. They had a courthouse marriage, which upset Linda because it wasn’t how she envisioned marriage to be. A few months later, James went to boot camp.
When he came back from boot camp. James asked to tie up Linda as part of a “game.” She saw a look in his eyes that night that scared her and she asked him to stop. He did stop and apologized. Later, Linda allowed herself to be tied up again.
Peeping into windows
When James was home from the service he told Linda that he had to go for runs every day to relieve stress. She now knows he was using his runs to stalk women.
One time he took a long time to take out the trash. When Linda went to look for her husband, she thinks she saw him look into someone’s window. She didn’t want to make a big deal about it at the time because she didn’t have proof.
Another time a neighbor told Linda that James had been harassing his wife, who lived downstairs. Linda confronted James about this, but he denied it and got angry.
When Linda got a job at a daycare, she heard a warning about a peeping tom in the area who wore a ski mask and raped a woman. Oddly enough, Linda got the same warning from her husband. Looking back, she can’t believe that he called her to warn her about himself.
One day Linda came home from work to find police in her house. They let her know that James had been arrested for watching a 53-year-old woman undress through her window and they suspected that he was the ski mask rapist. They had gone through the entire house looking for evidence.
Although Linda believed that her husband was a Peeping Tom, she couldn’t accept that he was a rapist. Still, her suspicions were up so she looked for evidence herself. One time she found rope and duct tape.
She took them to show his parents, who said they would “handle it.” They took the evidence, and did nothing. That day they did disclose to Linda that James had molested a family member for years, and it had included bondage. This was the same thing he later did to Linda.
After learning this horrific truth, Linda realized that she had married a monster who could hurt people. Linda asked them to come to the police with her, but his family refused because they feared for their lives if he ever got out.
James and Linda had a daughter together. Immediately after she was born, James was out the door, even at the hospital. Later, Linda says he used trick-or-treating to learn more about the neighbors houses.
When James was arrested again for not having car insurance, he called Linda and told her to not get his car. Linda immediately went to the car, where she found a ski mask and duct tape. Police later found a toy gun. Even with this newfound evidence, the officers told Linda they would get back to her about her suspicions that her husband was a serial rapist.
Linda later confronted James and he admitted to her that he was raping women. She begged him to hire a prostitute, but he didn’t want to because what he wanted was nonconsensual sex. He then bargained with her to let him have sex with her so he wouldn’t go out and hurt other women.
James pretended to be a water tester so he could gain trust from women and convince them to allow them into their houses. He would walk in their house and unlock their windows so he could find a way back in later.
How James got caught
James’ reign of terror came to an end when he raped a 15-year-old girl who was able to identify him. After he was caught, James confessed to his crimes. He admitted that he raped at least 15 women in a two-year period, but it may have been double that.
He said it started by peeping into windows. Then, his desires would escalate to entering the houses. He would stalk their houses and gather information bout them. He bragged about how easy it was to gain access to people’s homes.
James said he would apologize to the women after the attacks and would even offer them advice to lock their doors and windows.
In 1992, James was sentenced to four 99-year sentences for his crimes. He’s current;y 59-years-old.
photos via Investigation Discovery