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Man charged with rape of 15-year-old in Raleigh is a suspect in Durham rape, police say

Sean Thomas Klinek
Sean Thomas Klinek CCBI

Police think a man accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in North Raleigh in May 2017 may be responsible for the rape of a Durham woman seven months later.

Raleigh detectives arrested 28-year-old Sean Thomas Klinek in Wilmington in October on charges that he kidnapped, beat and raped a girl near the Dominion Park neighborhood on May 28, 2017.

Two search warrants made public Wednesday reveal that investigators suspect Klinek raped a 32-year-old woman in Durham on Dec. 9, 2017. He has not been charged in the case.

The victim’s husband told police that he found his wife in a wooded area outside their home on Penrith Drive in South Durham. The woman was unconscious and her pants were around her ankles, Raleigh Det. T. Leonard wrote in court documents.

Investigators noted similarities between the Durham and Raleigh cases, court documents show. Both victims had been struck in the head and sexually assaulted, and the incidents occurred within 10 miles of each other.

The Raleigh teen told police on June 1, 2017, that she was walking home from a community pool four days earlier when she was attacked from behind and then raped. She said she saw her attacker’s face.

The teen said she went home and slept for about three hours and when she woke up she had no memory of the attack for days afterward. She later sought medical treatment and was diagnosed as suffering from a concussion, police said.

The teen is an artist and was able to draw a detailed sketch of the man who assaulted her attack about a week after the incident.

In February, the girl saw Klinek’s mug shot on a local news station following his arrest related to a robbery in Chapel Hill. The photograph resembled her sketch.

“She was able to draw a picture,” Wake County prosecutor Katy Pomeroy told The News & Observer’s media partner, ABC11, at the time of Klinek’s arrest. “She’s an excellent artist and was able to draw a picture of her attacker right then. She said ‘I never knew him. I’ve never met him.’”

The girl identified Klinek in a photo lineup, police said. Klinek was charged Oct. 18 with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree kidnapping and assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

Last year, a judge sentenced Klinek to two years of probation for being an accessory after the fact in an armed robbery in Orange County.

In Wake County, Klinek was convicted in 2015 of misdemeanor assault on a female and in 2014 of misdemeanor false imprisonment.

He served four months in prison after being convicted of felony drug possession.

Investigators on Nov. 7 obtained a search warrant for Klinek’s cellphone. The next day, they got a warrant to obtain a DNA sample from Klinek.

Klinek, of Apex, remains in custody at the Wake County jail on a $1.5 million bond, a jail spokesman said Wednesday.

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Thomasi McDonald is a veteran journalist who writes about crime and public safety issues.


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