DA: Fugitive linked to unsolved rapes

SE Mass

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A man with numerous sex crime convictions who did not show up for trial 16 years ago has been charged with two previously unsolved rapes in the 1990s, according to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Ivan Keith, 61, was arraigned in Taunton District Court Wednesday on multiple counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, assault, and a number of other charges. He was ordered held without bail.

Police arrested Keith in Maine on August 2, according to the district attorney’s office. Prosecutors said Keith, who previously lived in Bridgewater, was discovered living in the village of Seal Cove under a different name.

The district attorney’s office said investigators linked Keith earlier this year to rapes in Taunton and Easton more than two decades ago. He’s suspected of being the masked man who attacked a woman exercising on the track outside Bristol-Plymouth Regional High School in Taunton on July 27, 1997. According to prosecutors, the assailant forced the woman into the woods, tied her up and raped her.

Keith is also suspected of raping a cleaning woman working in an office building in Easton in November 1998. In that case, prosecutors said the masked suspect entered the building and attacked the woman as she was leaving to take out the trash. After raping her, prosecutors said the suspect tied the woman’s hands then fled.

According to the district attorney’s office, Keith has also been linked to two other unsolved rape cases, one in Plymouth County and the other in Norfolk County. Both happened in 1996.

Prosecutors says new technology was used to to test DNA from alleged raped that was later traced to a family member of Keith’s. It lead police to a cabin deep in the woods in Maine where Keith was living.

It’s there that a vape pen with Keith’s DNA on it linked him to the four unsolved rape cases.

“The results of that testing indicated that the probability somebody other than this defendant raping those four woman is 1 in 3.289 quintillion, which means 18 zeros after the three,” said Prosecutor William McCauley.

Upon his arrest, prosecutors say Keith said “I get it. My time is up.”

“Later he would indicate he considering running out the back and made some joke that he had been on the run and evade police longer than Whitey Bulger,” McCauley said.

Prosecutors said Keith has several previous sex crime convictions from the 1980s and 1990s in Plymouth County. He was also convicted in 2000 of a sex crime in Maine, and was scheduled to go on trial in Brockton District Court in October 2003 on a charge of open and gross lewdness. The district attorney’s office said Keith never showed up for that trial, and also failed to register as a sex offender.

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