Serial rapist sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting 7-year-old | USAO-SDOH

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Columbus man was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to a total of 420 months in prison for transporting a young child in the bunk of his semi-truck across multiple states for the purpose of sexually assaulting the victim.

 

Joseph C. Gaines, 42, pleaded guilty in November 2021 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 court documents, during July and August of 2019, Gaines transported a minor who was approximately 7 years old from Ohio to numerous other states. While in those other states, Gaines sexually assaulted the child repeatedly and in a variety of ways.

 

Gaines was on parole when he committed the sexual assaults. He was convicted in Stark County Common Pleas Court in 2005 of raping a 13-year-old in 1998.

 

In 2000, Gaines 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. Around the time of the 1998 rape, the defendant approached a 15-year-old on the street in Canton, Ohio, and threatened her with a box cutter before taking her into the woods and raping her. Gaines’ DNA was found in the victim’s underwear. In 2002, a married couple was walking on the beach in Florida when the defendant approached them with a weapon covered by a towel and forced them to an abandoned building. Gaines raped the wife and forced the husband to watch.

 

“A multi-decade sentence is warranted for this defendant, whose ongoing actions reveal him to be a true predator,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “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.”

 

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost; Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant and members of the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah D. Morrison. Senior Litigation Counsel Heather A. Hill and Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Rausch are representing the United States in this case.

 

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