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Man linked to NE Ohio rapes gets 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting 7-year-old girl

by Jun 29, 2022Local News

A Columbus man who has been linked to several rapes, including in Northeast Ohio, was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in prison for the sexual assault of a 7-year-old girl.

Joseph Gaines, 42, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty in November to transporting a minor interstate with the intention of sexually abusing the victim, and committing a new offense against a minor as a registered sex offender.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, Gaines took the girl in the bunk of his semi-truck across multiple states during July and August 2019. He repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl, authorities say.

When the assaults occurred, Gaines was on parole from a 2005 conviction in Stark County for raping a 13-year-old in 1998, prosecutors say.

Gaines is linked to several other assaults. In 2000, he was convicted in Florida of kidnapping and attempted aggravated assault after approaching a woman on the beach, placing a knife to her throat, and saying, “you’re coming with me.”

Gaines’ DNA also linked him to two other rapes, authorities say. In 1998, he approached a 15-year-old girl on a street in Canton and threatened her with a box cutter before taking her into the woods and raping her, prosecutors say. Gaines’ DNA was found in the victim’s underwear.

In 2002, Gaines reportedly approached a married couple walking on the beach in Florida. Armed with a weapon covered by a towel, Gaines forced them to an abandoned building, where he raped the wife and forced the husband to watch, officials say.

“A multi-decade sentence is warranted for this defendant, whose ongoing actions reveal him to be a true predator,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth Parker said in a statement. “Gaines spent much of the past 20 plus years – other than the times he was incarcerated – perpetrating dangerous sexual assaults. Now, he’ll spend the next 35 years in federal prison. This is the type of incorrigible conduct that prison walls are made for.”

Man linked to NE Ohio rapes gets 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting 7-year-old girl

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