A 61-year-old former Bridgewater man who fled the state 16 years ago to allegedly avoid being tied to at least four brutal rapes dating back to the 1990s was ordered held without bail as a flight risk during his arraignment in Fall River Superior Court this morning, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.
The defendant, Ivan Keith, was also found dangerous by the court after the defense stipulated to a dangerousness finding. He is due back in court December 6th for a pretrial hearing.
A Bristol County Grand Jury indicted Ivan Keith on charges of Aggravated Rape (five counts), kidnapping (two counts), assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (two counts), perjury, failure to register as a sex offender, failure to provide a DNA sample, breaking and entering, and threats to commit a crime (two counts).
After an extensive investigation by prosecutors from this office and Massachusetts State Police detectives, Ivan Keith was identified as the person who committed two previously unsolved rapes which occurred in Bristol County more than two decades ago. The first rape occurred on July 27, 1997 outside the Bristol-Plymouth Regional High School in Taunton. In that case, a 36-year-old woman was exercising on the track outside the school when a masked man jumped out in front of her, forcibly led her to a wooded area, tied her up and raped her.
The second rape occurred on November 22, 1998 as a 47-year-old woman was working late cleaning offices at the Steve Porter Appraisal Services in Easton. While she was cleaning, a masked man entered the building and attacked her as she opened the door of an office to take out the trash. He then forcibly raped her before binding her hands and fleeing.
Investigators from this office began reviewing this “cold case” early this year and through their efforts were able to identify this defendant as the person responsible for these crimes. The defendant has also been linked to two other previously unsolved rape cases (one in Norfolk County and one in Plymouth County) both of which occurred in 1996.
Despite the fact that this defendant was convicted of several sex-related crimes in Plymouth County in the 1980s and 1990s, along with a sex crime conviction in Maine in 2000, the defendant failed to comply with sex offender registry and failed to provide a DNA sample to the state. On October 29, 2003, the defendant was set to appear in Brockton District Court for a jury trial on an Open and Gross Lewdness charge. The defendant intentionally defaulted and never appeared for that trial date.
In July, our office applied for and was granted arrest warrants for failure to register as a sex offender and making false statements. These new arrest warrants were then entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). With the assistance of the State Police Crime Lab, Investigators from the Massachusetts State Police, led by Sergeant Ann Marie Robertson, along with the Maine State Police, the Bar Harbor Police Department and the FBI were able to locate the defendant who was living under a new name in Seal Cove, Maine and took him into custody on August 2nd. The defendant waived rendition and was ordered held without bail as a flight risk during his arraignment in Taunton District Court and was also later found to be a danger after the completion of a dangerousness hearing in Taunton District Court.
The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney William McCauley and Assistant District Attorney Caleb Weiner. The arraignment was presided over by Judge Raffi Yessayan.
“I am very pleased the court held him without bail as both a flight risk and as a danger to the community. There couldn’t be a stronger case of flight risk than what this defendant has already done to avoid apprehension,” District Attorney Quinn said. “The court clearly has the authority to hold a defendant who poses a serious flight risk without bail and we are pleased Judge Yessayan’s ruling.”