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Saturday, September 18, 1999

Rape victim ready to face accused

By Cathleen F. Crowley
Eagle-Tribune Writer

With her attacker behind bars, Patricia DeMaris' Sept. 26th birthday will be her best in five years.

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''I was still looking over my shoulder ... Now I don't have to do that anymore,'' rape victim Patricia DeMaris says.
''I am going to celebrate the capture of that no good son of a gun,'' the Haverhill woman said. ''Here's to you, Minsky.''

Richard Alan Minsky, a Brookline native who has been on the run since ''America's Most Wanted'' aired a segment about him on July 31, was arrested Wednesday at Tampa International Airport.

Police said Mr. Minsky, 56, was a con artist who raped and extorted hundreds of thousands of dollars from as many as 100 women. Police believe Mrs. DeMaris, who was raped on Plum Island in 1994, was one of his victims.

He chose the women randomly from the telephone book. Police said he posed as a lawyer and would convince the women their husbands or boyfriends were in trouble and he could help them in exchange for money and sex.

Police believe Mr. Minsky is responsible for the extortion of more than 25 women in Massachusetts, Florida, California, Washington, D.C. and North Carolina over the past 20 years. Some of the women were also raped.

However, police said the number of victims could be as high as 100, and many women did not report the attacks.

''He ruined a lot of lives and destroyed a lot of marriages,'' said Boston Police Detective William Hartford. ''Not only are people embarrassed that they fell for it, if there is any sort of sexual assault, it puts a strain on the marriage.''

Two Tampa area women called police after they received calls from a man who used Mr. Minsky's con.

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Richard Alan Minsky
One of the women arranged to meet him at the airport and police intercepted him.

Detective Hartford said Mr. Minsky tried to tell the woman her husband had caused a serious accident and fled the scene.

''In the meantime, the husband is sitting right behind the woman on the couch,'' Detective Hartford said. ''She kind of smelled a rat.''

The woman lifted Mr. Minsky's location off her Caller ID box, which indicated he called from a terminal at the airport.

Mr. Minsky may be headed for life sentence in a California prison with no chance of parole, Detective Hartford said.

California has a three-strikes-you're-out policy. Mr. Minsky already has two convictions there and is wanted for allegedly raping two women in Los Angeles.

Mrs. DeMaris, 51, said she hopes to get the chance to face Mr. Minsky in court and tell him how much he hurt her.

Newbury police said Mr. Minsky called Mrs. DeMaris on Jan. 7, 1994. He told her he was ''Dennis'' and said he had important information about her husband's extramarital affair. Mrs. DeMaris, who is still estranged from her husband, knew about the affair but agreed to meet him anyway.

Mr. Minsky took her to Plum Island where he beat and raped her, she said.

After the attack, Mrs. DeMaris, who has four children and seven grandchildren, moved into the basement of her parent's home in Haverhill. She rarely left the house over the past five years for fear Mr. Minsky was following her.

''I still was looking over my shoulder,'' said the former social worker. ''It was an awful feeling. Now I don't have to do that anymore.''

Mrs. DeMaris did not know who her attacker was until she saw him on the crime show ''Fox Files'' in April.

Mrs. DeMaris was interviewed for the ''America's Most Wanted'' July episode, but producers did not use it.

She predicted police would find him after the show aired and she was right. Police also believe Mr. Minsky saw the episode.

Earlier this summer, Mr. Minsky sent a package to a woman he used to live next to in Boston. The woman, who shared his love for animals, had once cared for his puppies, a poodle and Shih-Tzu.

The package contained photos of Mr. Minsky's new puppy schnauzers, playing on top of newspapers. Police blew up the photos and identified the paper as North Carolina's Raleigh News and Observer.

A Raleigh police officer, who once lived in the same complex as Mr. Minsky, recognized the layout of the apartment. However, the landlord told police Mr. Minsky abandoned the apartment, along with his belongings and puppies, on July 31 -- the day the television show aired.

This report was prepared by Cathleen F. Crowley. If you have questions, comments or material to add on this subject, please feel free to contact her by phone at 946-2000, by mail at Box 100, Lawrence, MA 01842, or by e-mail at ccrowley@eagletribune.com.

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