An examination of previously untested sexual assault kits in Delaware has led police to a man responsible for seven Wilmington rapes over a span of about five years, the state’s Justice Department said.
Hayim Raison, 36, of Chester, Pennsylvania, stood accused of raping seven women in secluded areas throughout the northern Delaware city of 71,000 and making violent threats against his victims.
On September 17, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree rape, the department said.
“In order to resolve the case with the certainty of guilty pleas and to not put the victims through the difficulty and uncertainty of a trial, guilty pleas to two counts were accepted by prosecutors after consultation with the victims,” a news release said.
The seven attacks occurred between January 2014 and December 2018.
Raison is being held at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington. Before the plea deal he was slated to go on trial next month, court records indicate.
Despite the plea, all seven women will have a day in court, as they are invited to testify before a New Castle County Superior Court during Raison’s sentencing hearing in January.
The state Justice Department announced the deal with minimal fanfare Friday, including it in a rundown of convictions and plea deals in cases involving robbery, bribery and sexual assault on a child.
In 2015, the Delaware Criminal Justice Council celebrated receiving a $1.7 million federal grant as part of the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.
The project required a comprehensive inventory of untested sexual assault kits, prioritizing cases for eligibility and the development of a victim-centered strategy to improve Delaware’s response in sexual assault cases.
Victims were given a choice on whether they wanted to take part in the investigative process, the council said in its 2015 news release.
“These funds will certainly go to improving the criminal justice system and allowing for survivors of sexual assault to begin their process of healing,” Christian Kervick, the council’s executive director, said at the time.