FALL RIVER — A Fairhaven man has pleaded guilty to charges related to a string of violent attacks against prostitutes operating out of New Bedford.

In Fall River Superior Court on Thursday, Jeffrey Couture, 48, admitted to to one count of rape, one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, and three counts of larceny from a person, according to the Office of Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III.

Couture, who was indicted in August of 2018, is due to be sentenced on Monday.

Police say Couture in July of 2017 picked up a prostitute on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford then drove to a remote Copicut Road area near the Freetown State Forest, beat the woman with a gun and raped her. The woman jumped out of the car and was found by a neighbor who called 911. A state trooper who identified the suspect through surveillance video testified that the victim had severe head trauma, that her eyes were extremely swollen, and that "she had bad rashes from jumping out of the car."

That arrest came as police were investigating a string of similar violent attacks against prostitutes out of New Bedford. In September of 2018 investigators made progress when they obtained cellphone and Google location data linking Couture to other forced sexual assaults.

District Attorney Quinn released the following statement:

"I'm very pleased the defendant pleaded guilty and accepted responsibility for his conduct. I want to thank the prosecution team and the investigators for their significant efforts that resulted in the defendant being charged with these offenses. This was a difficult case and without their hard work, this conviction would not have been possible," Quinn said.

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