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Police say man raped 4 women

EDITOR'S NOTE: Correction appended.

ST. PETERSBURG — Michael Lee Montgomery was a serial rapist who preyed on vulnerable women, police said.

His targets included a prostitute and at least one mentally retarded women. He picked victims up in a maroon Chrysler New Yorker, raped them and forced them to commit horrific acts "of a deviant sexual nature," police said.

Montgomery, 48, was arrested Thursday afternoon on three charges of sexual battery, one charge of kidnapping and two charges of false imprisonment. A fourth rape victim has not been cooperative, police said.

St. Petersburg and Gulfport police are still investigating, and authorities say they think Montgomery has more victims who have not come forward.

The rapes stretch back to last summer, but police say they were not able to connect the cases until recently, when someone called with a tip about Montgomery.

Montgomery's victims were able to identify him in a photo pack, police said. On Thursday evening, he was talking to investigators.

As police led Montgomery to a cruiser he told reporters: "It's all lies."

In addition to picking up women on the street, police say, Montgomery also frequented telephone chat rooms. In one case, police say Montgomery pulled a woman into his car through a window and drove away, so she couldn't escape.

"The crimes are heinous," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt. "If I were to describe it to you, you would be very disgusted."

Montgomery lived at 2412 53rd St. S, across the street from the Gulfport Police Department. He has a criminal record that stretches back at least 28 years, with numerous arrests in Sarasota and Manatee counties, state records show. He has been arrested on charges including battery, aggravated assault, carrying a concealed weapon, fraud and trespassing.

In 1996, Montgomery was arrested in Sarasota and accused of kidnapping a woman from the street, raping her and beating her with a car jack handle before she escaped and flagged down a passing car, according to a Sarasota Herald-Tribune news story.

Montgomery faced charges of kidnapping, sexual assault with a weapon and aggravated assault, court records show. But authorities dropped the kidnapping and sex assault charges, and Montgomery pleaded no contest to one count of aggravated assault, records show.

It was unclear Thursday what sentence Montgomery received in that case, or why authorities dropped the charges.

Times staff writer Stephanie Garry and researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story published online incorrectly identified the make and model of the vehicle police believe Michael Lee Montgomery used.

Police say man raped 4 women 04/24/08 [Last modified: Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:53am]
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