Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man, 23, charged in brutal rape of woman near Tampa railroad tracks

TAMPA — Police arrested a 23-year-old man accused of brutally beating and raping a 36-year-old woman in a wooded area near railroad tracks in north Tampa.

Cleveland F. Morris, 23, has been charged with sexual battery.

The woman, who was not identified, was at a Citgo Gas Station on Busch Boulevard and 30th Street on Saturday night, sometime after 10:30 p.m., when Morris approached her, police said.

He walked and talked with her as she exited the convenience store.

Before she could reach her car, police said, Morris grabbed the woman and forced her toward a wooded area several blocks away, near N 17th Street and E Yukon Street. He beat her severely about her face and upper body and then raped her, police said.

The victim suffered fractures to her ribs, a punctured lung and severe bruising and swelling around her face, officials said.

She was taken to a local hospital, where she remained in serious condition Monday.

Morris was arrested Sunday night at 9330 30th Street N, on the periphery of Busch Gardens. Officials said the victim identified Morris in a lineup.

According to state records, this is not the first time Morris has been accused of a sexual crime.

In 2004, when he was 15, Morris was charged with five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of sexual battery on a child younger than 12, a capital felony.

Later that year, Tampa police arrested Morris on burglary and larceny charges.

Most recently, Morris was arrested last year on charges of carrying a concealed weapon. He remained in jail Monday in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Marissa Lang can be reached at or (813) 226-3386 or on Twitter @Marissa_Jae.

Man, 23, charged in brutal rape of woman near Tampa railroad tracks 10/22/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 3:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Criticism part of the game for Bucs' Gerald McCoy, who is chasing 'ghosts'


    Who crossed the line with their criticism of Gerald McCoy?

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy jokes with teammates during the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Police make arrest in murder of 20-year-old Tampa man


    TAMPA — A 20-year-old Tampa man has been arrested and charged with felony murder after a fatal shooting during a drug deal at a north Tampa apartment complex this week, records show.

  3. Tampa man arrested in fatal shooting at apartment complex


    TAMPA — A Tampa man faces a first-degree murder charge in a fatal shooting at a north Tampa apartment complex on Wednesday.

    Alexeis Perez, 20, faces a charge of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Antonio Roman on July 26, 2017, at Tzadik Oaks, 1250 E 113th Ave., in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Wimauma motorcyclist killed in Hillsborough County crash


    A Wimauma motorcyclist was killed Thursday night in a crash in Hillsborough County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  5. 3 wonderfully weird shows premiering next week: 'The Lowe Files,' 'What Would Diplo Do?' 'Comrade Detective'


    It seems like nothing is off limits on TV these days. Next week, three new shows air that I can't believe are really happening. They're all weird in their own ways, and I'm delighted. But let's be honest, at the point I'd probably watch a TV show about people coming up with TV shows. America has spoken, and we'll watch …

    Matthew, from left, Rob, and John Owen Lowe explore supernatural legends in A&E's new reality show "The Lowe Files."