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Cleveland man sentenced to life for 3 teen rapes

Posted at 1:28 PM, Dec 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 04:58:55-05

A Cleveland man was sentenced to life in prison for raping three teenagers in 1999 and 2000 during a hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court Monday morning.

DNA evidence from rape kits linked Christopher Bennett, 46, to the rapes and home invasions.

Bennett pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and four counts of aggravated burglary last month.

Prosecutors said he broke into the girls' homes wearing a mask, tried to tie them up, and raped them. He used a weapon.

The victims were 15,16 and 18 years old at the time of the attacks.

One victim testified during the sentencing hearing.

She told the judge it was the first time she saw her attacker's face.

"Why did he target me? I wasn't bothering him. Never seen that man a day in my life. . .  You came into my home to hurt me," she said to told Bennett.

"I was a child. I was in my home. In my own bed. Asleep," she said.

"In all three incidents the defendant broke into the victims' house shortly after their mothers' left for work and he raped them. The rapes were vicious. They were violent, and there was nothing else disturbed in the houses," said Denise Salerno, Assistant Cuyahoga Co. Prosecutor.

Bennett is one of 124 defendants who have been convicted after DNA evidence from untested rape kits linked them to sexual assaults in Cuyahoga County. 

According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office, 430 defendants have been indicted. Of those indicted, about one-third have been linked to multiple rapes.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine began testing more than 9,000 rape kits in 2013 after a NewsChannel5 Investigation found thousands of the kits were sitting on police departments' shelves.

 

 

WATCH the sentencing in the video above.

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