TAUNTON — A 61-year-old former Bridgewater man who fled the state 16 years ago was arrested recently in Seal Cove, Maine, and is being transported back to Massachusetts. The defendant will be arraigne​d in Taunton District Court tomorrow morning on new charges connected to two previously unsolved Bristol County rapes which occurred in the late 1990s, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

After an extensive investigation by prosecutors from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and Massachusetts State Police detectives, Ivan Keith has been 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 the D.A.’s office began reviewing this cold case early this year and through their efforts were able to identify Keith as the person responsible for these crimes. Keith has also been linked to two other unsolved rape cases, one in Norfolk County and one in Plymouth County, both of which occurred in 1996.

Despite the fact that Keith 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, he 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. Keith intentionally defaulted and never appeared for that trial date.

In July, the D.A.’s 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 Keith, who was living under a new name in Seal Cove, Maine and took him into custody on August 2. The defendant has since waived rendition and will be arraigned tomorrow morning in Taunton District Court on the following charges:

– Five counts of aggravated rape

– Two counts of kidnapping

– Two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon

– Two counts of threats to commit bodily harm

– Assault with a dangerous weapon

– Breaking and entering into a building in the night with intent to commit a felony

– Failure to register as a sex offender

– Making false statements

– Perjury

Wednesday’s arraignment will be prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney William McCauley and Assistant District Attorney Caleb Weiner. Since the defendant has yet to be arraigned in open court on the charges, no further information or facts of the case can be released publicly at this time.

--Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

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