Man arrested on rape charges spent years in Tremont using assumed name

TREMONT — A man living in Seal Cove has been arrested and transported to Massachusetts to be arraigned on charges connected with two unsolved rape cases from the 1990s.

Ivan Keith, 61, a former resident of Bridgewater, Mass. who reportedly fled the state 16 years ago, was arrested on Aug. 2 at a Tremont Road residence by state police.

Keith was living in Maine under a different name, according to a statement released this week by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Tremont area residents said they knew Ivan Keith as Chris Keith.

A resident of Seal Cove for several years, a man identified as Chris Keith went before the Board of Selectmen in September 2018 to issue a complaint about a dilapidated trailer on the property next door to where he was living.

Ivan Keith

In Massachusetts, Ivan Keith was scheduled to be arraigned on 16 charges in Taunton District Court on Wednesday.

Charges include five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of threats to commit bodily harm and failure to register as a sex offender.

The last charge in addition to one of making false statements were the basis of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office application for arrest warrants for Keith in July.

When the warrants were entered into the National Crime Information Center, investigators from Massachusetts State Police with the help of Maine State Police, the Bar Harbor Police Department and the FBI were able to locate Keith in Seal Cove.

Keith was convicted of several sex-related crimes in Plymouth County, Mass. in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as a sex crime conviction in Maine in 2000, according the DA’s press release.

In October 2003, Keith was set to appear in Brockton District Court for a jury trial on a charge of open and gross lewdness, but he never appeared.

Investigators began reviewing a cold case earlier this year and identified Keith as a suspect. The case involved two unsolved rapes that occurred in Bristol County more than 20 years ago.

In the first case, which occurred in July 1997, a 36-year-old woman was exercising on a high school track when a man wearing a mask jumped in front of her and forcibly led her to a wooded area. There she was tied up and sexually assaulted.

Just over a year later, in November 1998, another assault was reported. It involved a 47-year-old woman who was working late cleaning offices at an appraisal service in Easton, Mass. While she was cleaning, a man wearing a mask entered the building and attacked the woman as she was taking out the trash. She was forcibly sexually assaulted before her hands were bound and the man fled, according to the press release.

Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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