Suspect in custody in Camden, NJ rapes
CAMDEN, N.J. - February 23, 2012 (WPVI) -- The Camden County Prosecutor says a suspect is now in custody in connection with a series of rapes near Camden's Farnham Park.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, prosecutors said Kevin Cleveland, 19, of the 400 block of Rand Street in Camden, is the man responsible for raping three young women in Farnham Park at knife- and gunpoint from mid-January to early February.
Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk and Police Chief Scott Thomson said Cleveland, who doesn't have any criminal convictions as an adult, was picked up at his home Thursday morning for a January robbery.
The crime happened in the same park where detectives believe he sexually assaulted his victims.
"I'm happy to tell the residents of the City of Camden that this animal is behind bars and that the prosecutor and I will do everything in our power to ensure that this individual doesn't see the light of day," said Thomson.
The serial rapes have put this community around Baird Boulevard on edge.
There has been anger about the police department's handling of the case, which Chief Thomson addressed.
"I understand the position of folks wanting to know," said Thomson. "But as the prosecutor said, we have a responsibility to release valid, credible information."
And then there was the chaos sparked Wednesday when investigators say 25-year-old Janira Lebron of the 200 block of South 27th Street in Camden claimed the serial rapist attacked her.
Dozens of local, state and federal officers were used to investigate that claim.
But the prosecutor says Lebron's allegations were made up after she got into a domestic incident with an acquaintance.
She was charged with a 4th degree felony, issued a court summons and released.
"If we could have charged her with anything more serious, I assure you she would have been charged," said Faulk. "Those kinds of false allegations are harmful. They're harmful to law enforcement and they're harmful to the public."
new jersey, camden, camden county, sex assault, crime
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