Police arrested a Clearwater man Monday who they say raped, beat up, robbed or kidnapped three women over the last several weeks.
Derek L. Lawson, 24, put a woman in a choke hold in early May, Clearwater police said. He dragged her to a shed, stripped off her pants and raped her. She fought back, tore at his hair and finally freed herself.
Then on May 26, police said he offered a woman $100 for sex at 3 a.m. He walked with her to the Hilltop Motel on Gulf to Bay Boulevard. The woman asked to see the money first, and Lawson held out a $1 bill, authorities said. The woman laughed and turned away. Lawson hit her in the face and she fell to the ground, police said.
She tried to shield her face with her hands and he beat her until her forearm broke, authorities said. A person walking by shouted at Lawson and he ran off. The next day he offered a woman money to have sex with him again. He had done so three nights in a row, police said, and each time the woman declined. On this night, after she turned Lawson down, he punched her in the left eye, authorities said. Then he grabbed $48 she had in her bra and rode off on a bicycle.
Lawson was charged with sexual battery, kidnapping, aggravated battery, burglary and robbery. He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail and held on $85,000 bail.