Convicted Rapist Arrested After 44 Years In Hiding

Convicted Rapist Arrested After 44 Years In Hiding

( – It’s been said that life imitates art. The events that unfolded in Florida recently certainly sound as if they came straight out of a TV show or a movie. A man living under an assumed name found out he may not be as smart as he thought.

Original Crime

Douglas E. Bennett was a drama instructor at the all-female Mount Holyoke College in the 1970s. He was accused of raping one of the students in 1974 — not just once in her yard, but again a second time in an automobile with an accomplice who also violated the girl.

Bennett was represented by the now legendary F. Lee Bailey, who is best known for his success in defending Dr. Sam Shepard of Bay Village, Ohio. Bailey is the inspiration behind the movie “The Fugitive” and was also a part of OJ Simpson’s defense team.

The appeal they made to the Connecticut Supreme Court failed to overturn Bennett’s conviction. He fled the jurisdiction a short time afterward and was on the run for the last 44 years.

The Slip-up

Bennett managed to assume the identity of a child who had died in 1945. Given his current age of 76, this approximates his birth year. For a while, he seemingly got away with it — until he attempted to renew a passport using the assumed identity. When officials questioned him and asked for proof, he refused to give his real name.

Investigators began a search for Bennett’s true identity by submitting his fingerprints into the system. It was a shot in the dark; they were hoping for a match. Fortunately, it was a fruitful measure. They managed to identify him as the man convicted in those crimes, a man who had run rather than face an 18-year prison sentence.

Because Bennett was a convicted felon who had already been sentenced, the statute of limitations law doesn’t apply to him. What that means for the elusive criminal is simple: he will have to serve all 18 years, even now. The various charges he is facing for his fraudulent coverup may even carry an additional penalty of up to 12 years in federal prison.

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