- Associated Press - Saturday, December 3, 2016

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A man twice convicted for sex-related crimes has been charged in a new 2015 attack after Eugene police say they matched his DNA to skin cells collected from the alleged victim’s fingernails.

Ricky LeVasseur, 55, who is currently under post-prison supervision, is now in Lane County Jail. He has pleaded not guilty to sexual abuse and other charges, The Register-Guard reported (https://goo.gl/xWsYUN ). He is to appear in court later this month.

LeVasseur’s DNA was already in the state’s database because of his 1989 and 2003 sex-related convictions. But authorities did not make a match to LeVasseur’s DNA until about a year after the samples were sent to the Oregon state crime lab.

Court records show that a woman told police she scratched and hit a man who attacked on Nov. 4, 2015, and managed to escape. DNA collected from her fingernail scrapings were submitted to the state crime lab that month for testing.

Last month, those test results were matched with LeVasseur’s DNA, according to an affidavit filed last week in court by a Eugene police detective. LeVasseur was arrested Nov. 16 at the Eugene tow truck company where he works.

Eugene police declined to comment.

State police spokesman Bill Fugate declined to speak about the specific case. But he said generally the testing of a rape kit can normally take up to five months. The process is often delayed because of how many rape kits are being processed at any given time.

Oregon, along with many other states across the country, has accumulated a backlog of untested rape kits over the last several decades, mostly because of a lack of staff and funding. It was not immediately clear if the year between the 2015 attack and LeVasseur’s arrest was a result of the backlog, the newspaper reported.

Eugene police officers found the woman’s clothing and the man’s ski mask in the bushes where the victim reported that the attack had occurred last year. A DNA test done on the ski mask also matched LeVasseur’s DNA, the detective’s states.

LeVasseur was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 1989 for raping and kidnapping a 17-year-old Springfield girl. He was released from prison after 14 years.

Shortly after he was released, he was convicted for sexual abuse, robbery and coercion and sentenced to 9½ years in prison.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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