DNA connects sex offender to 3 rape cases from 1995

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters has announced an indictment in three rape cases from 1995.

Stanley Lightner, 45, is charged in a 24-count indictment with 13 counts of rape, four counts of felonious sexual penetration, five counts of kidnapping and two counts of felonious assault. He is also charged with gun and prior violent offense specifications. If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison.

The indictment alleges that Lightner raped a 12-year-old girl on March 13, 1995 while she was walking home with a friend. The friend was able to run away, but Lightner grabbed the girl, choked her and pointed a gun to her head. He then forced her into a vacant garage.

Three days later, prosecutors say Lightner raped another 12-year-old girl who was playing outside with her friends at an apartment complex. When she went into a laundry room to wash her hands, Lightner grabbed her, threatened to kill her, then forced her into a wooded area and struck her in the head with a gun. He fired a shot toward her and said the next shot would "be in her."

The third incident occurred in April of 1995 and involved a 19-year-old victim. Prosecutors say Lightner grabbed the victim on Windsor near St. James Street and forced her into a wooded area at gunpoint. He also fired a shot at her and threatened to kill her.

Lightner went to prison in 1996 for attempted rape, attempted kidnapping, robbery and felonious assault. He was released from prison in January of 2007 and was required to register as a sex offender.

In a recent sex offender sweep, the defendant was arrested on June 11, 2013 for failing to register a new address and his DNA was collected. His DNA was found to be a match for the DNA collected and saved from the three cases in 1995.

Deters said Lightner was arrested at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Online Hamilton County Detention Center records indicate he was booked in the jail on July 18.

According to a spokesperson for the Cincinnati Museum Center, Lightner was not a Museum Center employee, but worked for a third party vendor, Sodexo. He was hired with the company in 2007, the same year he was released from prison. Lightner worked in catering and food service, but did not have interaction or frontline experience with visitors.

Elizabeth Pierce, spokeswoman for the Museum Center, says their employees are all required to pass a background checks, but that third party vendors are required to handle their own employee screenings.

According to Sodexo, there was no background check on file for Lightner who was a cook in the café's kitchen. FOX19 confirmed as of Monday he had been terminated by the company. A Sodexo spokesperson told FOX19 it is a part of their contract with the Museum Center to perform background checks on all employees, and they are currently in the process of confirming all employee background checks are on file. 

"Lightner deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. His crimes were horrific and he changed the lives of his victims forever," said Deters. "Fortunately, technology helped us solve these cases and enabled us to give our community some comfort in the knowledge that a violent predator is off our streets and not able to terrorize any more innocent young women."

Deters said there could be more victims, and anyone who believes they had contact with Lightner should contact the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.

Court records indicate that Lightner was arrested for a rape in January of 1995, but Deters said he was charged in error in that case, because he had already been convicted of that crime.

Deters said he didn't know why Lightner's DNA was taken by the Department of Corrections when he was released in 2007.

State records indicate a DNA sample was taken from Lightner, but the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction tells FOX19 records do not show a date of when that sample may have been sent off or placed in the database. They say their policies have since been updated in include more safeguards to prevent tests from slipping through the cracks.

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