A man charged with rape in Alexandria and wanted on a rape charge in Fairfax County was freed on his own recognizance by an Alexandria judge Tuesday and later disappeared after a communications foul-up among embarrassed law enforcement officials.

A Fairfax police investigator who alerted Alexandria police he was obtaining arrest warrants against the man on four felony charges and then drove to the Alexandria courthouse to serve the warrants Tuesday morning was shocked to find the defendant already gone, a Fairfax police spokesman said yesterday.

The defendant, Robert Wesley Jiles, 37, of 5911 Edsall Rd., Alexandria, who was being sought yesterday, was released by General District Court Chief Judge Daniel Fairfax O'Flaherty. O'Flaherty said he freed Jiles after Alexandria assistant prosecutor Thomas Carter told him Jiles "looked like a good candidate for personal recognizance."

Jiles is scheduled to appear again before O'Flaherty on April 20 as a condition of his release. Fairfax and Alexandria police have been unsuccessfully searching for Jiles since Tuesday.

"I don't expect him to show," said Alexandria chief prosecutor John Kloch.

Fairfax and Alexandria had been working closely on the Jiles cases. Investigators from both jurisdictions traveled to Southern California last weekend to return Jiles to Northern Virginia after he was arrested there on a fugitive warrant.

According to court documents, Jiles allegedly abducted a woman on March 11 in a parking lot in Alexandria's west end, took her to her apartment and raped her. Ten days later, he allegedly accosted a 22-year-old woman in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax, drove her to the District to obtain money from an automatic bank teller, then returned to the woman's apartment where he raped her.

In addition to the Alexandria rape charge, Jiles is wanted in Fairfax on felony charges of rape, robbery, abduction and use of a firearm while committing a felony. The day after Jiles' release, Alexandria police added charges of abduction and robbery against Jiles in connection with a separate case, police said.

Kloch acknowledged that his assistant, Carter, was unaware at the time of the bond hearing before O'Flaherty of the extent of police interest in Jiles. But Kloch in turn leveled criticism at O'Flaherty, describing him as the only Alexandria judge who routinely grants personal recognizance bond to defendants facing serious felony charges.

Personal recognizance should "never, ever be granted, in my opinion," in felony cases, Kloch said.