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Suspected serial rapist arrested

When victims would hail the suspect's cab, he would drive them to an area, park and assault them, police said. He would then leave the victim at the scene and drive away, police said. A 37-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night in downtown Los Angeles after a woman told police she had seen a man who matched a composite image of a serial rapist.

Eric Clay of Hollywood was inside a taxi near 7th Street and Central Avenue at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday when a woman flagged down patrol officers and told them that the man resembled the LAPD's composite sketch.

Clay, who is being held in lieu of $300,000 bail, is suspected of committing the sexual assaults between Aug. 22 and Dec. 22 in the area of Central Avenue, Main Street and East 6th and 8th Streets in Los Angeles. 

When victims would hail the suspect's cab, he would drive them to an area, park and assault them, police said. He would then leave the victim at the scene and drive away, police said.

"The suspect drove and committed his crimes in a taxi with a legally marked seal and with a phone number and taxi light displayed," the LAPD said in a statement.  "The taxi was leased from an operational taxi company," detectives said.

Police said Clay might be tied to at leave five reported sexual assaults. The first incident took place Aug. 22 about 9 p.m., when the victim was picked up from 7th Street and San Pedro Avenue and taken to the area of 11th Street and Burlington Avenue, where she was raped, police said.   

The most recent assault occurred Dec. 22 about 4:30 a.m., when the victim was picked up from 7th Street and Towne Avenue. She was then driven to Palmetto Street and Santa Fe Avenue and assaulted, police said.

-- Andrew Blankstein and Richard Winton

Photo: When victims would hail the suspect's cab, he would drive them to an area, park and assault them, police said. He would then leave the victim at the scene and drive away, police said. Credit: Noah Berger / Bloomberg News

Comments () | Archives (7)

The "content of his character" falls a little short!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you for this article, it is very informative, however, since I was the first victim, I feel that a composite drawing of the rapist is needed to be seen as well. There are other victims out there, two, that I talked with before the rapists apprehension, were afraid to come forward at that time. I don't know where to find the composite drawing that was seen on the televised news article.

Why is it the media running the composite without a picture of Clay? A reporter on CBS2 (Serene Branson) actually stated the "sketch" WAS of Eric Clay?? It's my understanding from someone who knows him, that he does not look anything like the composite, except he is African-American. ???? Did a victim identify him--or just a woman on the street who happened to see a black man driving a cab? What color cab was he driving? And what color cab was mentioned in earlier reports of the attacks?

The public does not expect so much from local television stations, but more from a prestigious paper like the L.A. Times. Did anyone think to ask what evidence---other than driving while black--the police had? Did you get a copy of the mugshot to run next to the composite? How hard is that? If Clay is guilty, thank goodness they got him; if not, then shame on the L.A. Times and other media for not asking questions. And there goes the new era of heightened race relations--3 days after Obama is inaugurated.

Would your posting earn you an "A" in your freshman journalism class? I doubt it. Where I went to journalism school, it would get a big, fat "F". Please---let's start doing some real reporting before newspapers are gone altogether. Who else can we count on?

I have to agree with the previous post. Where is the picture of Clay? A woman saying that he looks like a composite seems thin. I would hope that the police have other reason to suspect Clay. With this said, not one of the articles that I've read (and I've read 6) mentions any additional evidence. I also know for a fact that this man pleads innocence. I have to admit I'm concerned that this may man may be a victim himself. 80years to life in prison is not to be taken lightly.

The two comments above make a valid point, and they hit a nerve. There has been no concrete evidence offered that indicates guilt, yet the LAPD and the media are treating this as a closed case. They don't even bother to report that Eric Clay pleads innocent, OR report anything about Eric Clay: who he is, whether he has any priors, what he actually looks like, etc.

Why would everyone assume that Eric Clay is guilty, when all ANYONE has to go on is a one random person's pointed finger? This is a person's life we're talking about after all.

The LAPD wants to sweep this under the rug for their own PR reasons understandably, and the media is simply regurgitating what they've been told.

It is lazy to assume guilt, especially when anyone can plainly see that there has been no evidence offered to truly justify it.

Could this possibly be just another case of a black man being misused by the LAPD?

I hope the LA Times keeps their eye on this story...

I know Eric Clay and have know him since highschool. The sketch does not look like him at all. This is definately a case of "all black men looking alike". I still have not seen any mug shot of Eric, nor have I heard about any DNA evidence against him. The DA is basically rushing to convict him without any evidence. Because I've known him for so long I know that he would not do anything like this. He is not a sexual predator. Women usuallly chased after him. And for these women to be homeless really tells me that he didn't do it. Has he been positively identified?

I have known Eric for a long time and the picture that has been painted of this young man is so wrong that it hurts my heart! There is no physical evidence to link him to any of the victims(DNA)what so ever, no one has come forward and actually pointed him out as the actual rapist! Just someone who saw a composite sketch of a black man which everyone after seeing says Eric bares absolutely no resemblance! This is an injustice!Real rapist and murderers stay on the streets dangling just under radar of our men in blue while the victims(Eric included) pay the price!
Free Eric Clay!


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