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Elizabeth man charged with raping 2 women nearly 12 years apart

September 27, 2018

Pittsburgh police are providing few details about why it took 12 years to file rape charges against an Elizabeth man who now stands accused raping a different woman in July.

Shawn Carr, 33, was charged Aug. 20 in connection with an alleged July 14 incident in which police said Carr raped a hearing-impaired woman for hours while her boyfriend slept. A criminal complaint said the woman repeatedly told the hearing-impaired Carr in sign language to stop.

Police filed similar charges Wednesday against Carr in connection with the alleged January 2007 rape of another hearing-impaired woman. Police interviewed the woman and received rape-kit evidence collected at UPMC Mercy after the alleged rape, but charges weren’t filed then. They talked to the woman, now in her 60s, again Monday, the complaint said.

Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Alicia George said charges related to the alleged 2007 incident were only recently filed because “investigators finally had the evidence and probable cause” to charge Carr. She declined further comment, saying by email that “due to the sensitive nature of sex assault/rape cases, we are limited as to what details we can release.”

It’s unknown whether police interviewed or investigated Carr in 2007.

In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations in rape cases is 12 years.

A criminal complaint said the alleged 2007 rape happened in a bathroom at the Goodwill on the South Side’s East Carson Street. Carr and the woman were classmates at a class there for people with hearing impairments.

The woman told police 11 years ago through a sign-language interpreter that after eating lunch with Carr, she noticed him following her as she walked to the building’s sixth floor. The complaint said she became nervous and tried to lose Carr in the hallways before ducking into a women’s bathroom.

Carr allegedly forced his way into the bathroom, pushed the woman into a wall and raped her, according to the criminal complaint. Then he took $11 from her purse, the complaint said.

The rape-kit evidence collected at UPMC Mercy was sent to the property room at Pittsburgh police headquarters on the North Side, the complaint said.

On Aug. 3, two weeks after interviewing the alleged victim in the July incident, detectives went to the address where the alleged 2007 victim lived 11½ years ago.

Family members said she no longer lived there but reported remembering the alleged incident and “how (she) was transported home from Mercy Hospital in a yellow cab,” adding she “was extremely upset and told them she was raped and robbed by her classmate Shawn Carr,” the complaint said.

Detectives interviewed the alleged 2007 victim Monday and recounted details she remembered through sign-language interpreters.

“I was scared, bad,” the woman said, according to the complaint. “I didn’t want, I didn’t want (to).”

The alleged victim in the July incident said she was raped at a friend’s Forbes Avenue apartment. She was there with her boyfriend and his friend, Carr, the complaint said. All are hearing impaired.

The woman told detectives she was on a couch with her boyfriend, who was asleep, when Carr “grabbed her wrist and forced her into the bathroom.” The woman said she was “raped for hours,” and she repeatedly told Carr in sign language to stop.

Rape-kit evidence was collected at UPMC Mercy and taken to the Allegheny County Crime Lab, according to the complaint.

The complaint said detectives asked Carr through Facebook to come to police headquarters for an interview. Carr allegedly refused and told police, “I’m too busy to come there,” but agreed after police said they would get a warrant. The complaint said an interview with interpreters would be conducted at a later date.

Carr is being held in Allegheny County Jail after failing to post $50,000 bond. Preliminary hearings in both cases are scheduled for Sept. 12.

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