Cold-case serial rapist from '90s pleads guilty

CLEVELAND -- A serial rapist who preyed upon women on Cleveland's Near West Side in the 1990s is the latest career criminal brought to justice by the DNA Cold Case Task Force, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said Tuesday.

Ralph Kent, 54, entered a plea of guilty to one count of rape and was immediately sentenced to spend another 15 to 25 years in prison by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Lance Mason.

Kent had previously been convicted of three sexual assaults and is serving time for two of them. He had a parole hearing set for September, and Judge Mason's sentence ensures that he will not be leaving prison anytime soon.

In the case decided Tuesday, Kent attacked a 66-year-old woman on April 21, 1994. Kent approached her as she walked home from a bar on Clinton Avenue, dragged her between two houses and raped her

The victim died of lung cancer in 2009, but the sexual assault kit taken at Lutheran Hospital after her attack was among those submitted by Cleveland Police Department to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. A match was found between the DNA in the kit and Kent's DNA profile in the CODIS data base.

Follow-up investigation by the DNA Cold Case Task Force led to serial rapist Kent's indictment and Tuesday's conviction.

Kent's criminal history includes: A conviction for Rape and Kidnapping in 1978; a conviction for Felonious Assault, Attempted Rape and Kidnapping in 1997; and a Rape conviction in 2006 for a crime committed in 1994.

The court in 1997 classified him a sexual predator and a habitual sex offender.

"Although the victim did not live to see her rapist convicted, we have achieved justice for those affected by Kent's terrible crimes -- her surviving family members and the community as a whole," said Assistant County Prosecutor Maxwell Martin,
who prosecuted this case for the State of Ohio.


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