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U.S. Attorney: Convicted Rapist Hid for 40 Years Using Fake ID

Douglas Edward Bennett | Crime | Courts

The Clearwater man is facing charges from both the feds and the state of Connecticut.

TAMPA – The U.S Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida has accused a Clearwater man of hiding from police for more than 40 years by using the identity of someone who died in 1945.

Douglas Edward Bennett, 76, of Clearwater, was charged with with passport fraud and aggravated identity theft.  If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 12 years in federal prison.

According to the complaint, Bennett in 1975 a jury in Connecticut convicted him of robbery, kidnapping, sexual contact, rape, and deviate sexual intercourse. He was sentenced to nine to 18 years in Connecticut State Prison. Bennett, however, never turned himself in to begin his sentence. Records show, in 1977, he assumed the identity of ta man who had died in 1945. Bennett remained a fugitive for more than 40 years.

In July 2016, officials said, Bennett submitted a passport application using the name, date of birth, and Social Security number of the deceased man. When applying for this passport, Bennett failed to disclose his true identity.

On Nov. 4, Bennett was arrested pursuant to both the federal and state of Connecticut warrants. A fingerprint comparison confirmed that Bennett was the same person convicted in Connecticut in 1975. At the time of his arrest, he possessed a Florida driver license bearing the false identifying information, but containing Bennett’s photograph.

A complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

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