Fugitive convicted of rape used dead boy’s identity in Florida for decades

It’s never too late for justice

On Valentine’s Day in 1974, a 22-year-old woman in Connecticut was dragged from her home and sexually assaulted by a masked assailant for over an hour, according to court filings and local media reports.

The man accused of the attack — Douglas E. Bennett — was convicted of kidnapping and rape, but he never reported to prison in 1975 to serve his sentence.

Instead, prosecutors said Bennett assumed the identity of a boy in Massachusetts who died in the 1940s and fled to Florida. A fraudulent passport application led to his capture decades later, the U.S. Department of Justice for the Middle District of Florida said Nov. 5 in a news release.

Bennett, now 76, was arrested Nov. 4 as he was leaving his home in Clearwater, Florida, court filings state. A fingerprint analysis matched him to the 1974 case.

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According to evidence presented at trial, Bennett — then around 30 years old — was wearing a mask and carrying a gun when he allegedly broke into a woman’s home on Feb. 14, 1974, while looking for her father. But she was home alone.

“She was robbed of cash, had her hands tied behind her back, covered her eyes with duct tape, dragged outside, disrobed and sexually assaulted by Bennett,” court filings state. “He forced her into a car where she was again raped and sexually abused by Bennett and his companion for over an hour.”

Prosecutors said Bennett was arrested three months later by the Wethersfield Police Department.

Read more: Miami Herald