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St. Petersburg police link Gulfport man to third sexual battery case

ST. PETERSBURG — John Charles Ross Andrews II was charged this fall with raping a 19-year-old woman and declared a suspect in the rape of a 15-year-old girl.

Now St. Petersburg police have linked the Gulfport man to a third case: Andrews was charged Tuesday with sexual battering a 16-year-old girl in September.

The details of all three attacks were very similar, according to police.

"They all took place along the 34th Street S corridor," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Bill Proffitt. "They all involved young women. The type of attack was similar. The suspect description was similar."

The latest allegation concerns a teen who told police she was assaulted about 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 4. The victim had run away from home when she encountered Andrews, then 27.

He offered to help the victim find a shelter, police said. He led the runaway through a wooded "shortcut," police said, which is where the attack took place.

Andrews knocked the teen down, then forced the girl to perform a sex act on him, according to police, while he smoked what the victim believed to be crack cocaine. Then he allowed her to leave, police said.

The girl immediately reported the attack but was taken into custody in another jurisdiction, delaying St. Petersburg's investigation. Detectives finally interviewed her in November, when they said she identified a photo of Andrews "without hesitation."

The teenager also told police that her alleged attacker had a "ride or die" tattoo along the back of his neck. It was the same tattoo that the victim of a Nov. 3 assault reported seeing.

The 19-year-old victim in that assault was raped as she walked home just before dawn from the Walmart Supercenter at 3501 34th St. S, according to police. Detectives said Andrews followed her from the store on his bike, then pulled her into the bushes near 38th Avenue S and 38th Street and raped her. He rode off, police said, but later that day was charged with sexual battery.

Andrews is still a suspect in a sexual assault that took place on Sept. 20 under a secluded Interstate 275 overpass between 34th Street and 31 Street S, police said. A 15-year-old girl was riding her skateboard, police said, when a man grabbed her, dragged her away, assaulted her, then let her go. No charges have been filed in that case, but it remains under investigation.

The victims in all three attacks have not been identified by police.

Andrews has been held in the Pinellas County jail since his Nov. 3 arrest for sexual battery. He was served Tuesday with the sexual battery warrant in the Sept. 4 case. He is also being held on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and obstructing an officer. His bail is now $40,500.

Proffitt said police do not suspect Andrews in any other sexual assaults.

St. Petersburg police link Gulfport man to third sexual battery case 12/21/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 10:35pm]
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