By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — A man who pleaded guilty to sexual battery in connection with a 2000 rape in Anderson was arrested Thursday for allegedly not registering as a sex offender.
Kevin C. Tharp, 29, was sentenced to three years in prison in 2011 for the crime, but since being released has apparently failed to enter his name into the sex offender registry, a requirement for anyone convicted of sex crimes.
The charge, a Class D felony, was filed in September 2012. Tharp pleaded not guilty to the charge and, as of Friday night, was still in Madison County Jail on $5,000 bond.
The rape, which happened on Aug. 25, 2000, involved a 13-year-old girl and went unsolved for more than a decade. In January 2011, police finally tied the case to Tharp, who was serving a separate prison term in Branchville Correctional Facility, thanks to DNA collected from the victim in a sexual assault kit. The State Police's lab matched the DNA to Tharp's, and the victim, then 23, picked Tharp out of a photo lineup and identified his voice.
According to the probable cause affidavit of the attack, the victim told police that she was walking home from a friend’s house when someone grabbed her from behind and pulled her into a house against her will. She said one of three men put tape over her mouth. One of the men raped her while the other two held her arms and legs. She said a second man attempted to rape her but stopped after a woman entered the home and ordered the men to leave.
The woman told police the men threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the incident, according to the affidavit. She said the woman who walked into the home helped her leave and called the victim’s mother, who took the victim to Saint John’s Medical Center for treatment and evidence collection.
The victim told police she was “100 percent sure” the person she picked out of the lineup — Tharp — was the one who raped her, according to the affidavit. Tharp’s was also the only DNA found in the sexual assault kit.
Tharp was 16 at the time of the attack.
The Herald Bulletin confirmed that no Kevin C. Tharp is registered in the Madison County Sex Offender Registry.
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