Michael Sharpe was arrested on November 17, 2020 and charged with a series of sexual assaults in Connecticut that took place in June and July of 1984. There were four female victims, ranging in age from 24 to 30. These were violent home invasion rapes in which the women were sexually assaulted by an intruder at gun point. Sharpe is currently charged with offences relating to kidnapping with a firearm, as the statute of limitations on the sexual assault charges ran out in about 1989.
This case was funded by the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. The initial confirmation was made through police surveillance followed by the surreptitious sampling of items Sharpe discarded in the trash outside his home. Police then obtained a warrant to take his DNA sample.
Sharpe is now 69 years old. He was initially released on a promise to appear in Hartford Superior Court, but was later detained on a $2.5 million bond. He had been the CEO of a local charter school but was removed when it was brought to light that he had lied about having a doctorate degree as well as a criminal record for forgery and embezzlement. His late mother had founded the Hartford Charter School in 1997 to reduce the achievement gap for minority students.
Sharpe was convicted by a jury on November 2, 2022, on eight kidnapping charges after a five-day trial. He could not be convicted of sexually assaulting his victims, as the statute of limitations had run out. On January 9, 2023, Sharpe was sentenced to 72 years in prison for four counts of kidnapping.
Associated Press. “Connecticut Man Convicted in Sex Assaults of 4 Women in ‘80s.” NBC News 10, November 2, 2022. Accessed November 5, 2022. https://www.whec.com/national-world/connecticut-man-convicted-in-sex-assaults-of-4-women-in-80s/.
Caron, Matt. “Michael Sharpe, Former School Leader, Sentenced to 72 Years in Kidnapping Case.” Fox 61, January 9, 2023. Accessed January 16, 2023. https://www.fox61.com/article/news/local/hartford-county/hartford/michael-sharpe-sentenced-to-72-years-in-kidnapping-case/520-77cdfe1b-dd14-4556-946e-4eb465d02571.
Hardaway, Liz, and Christine Dempsey. “At Former CT School Exec’s Trial, Women Say Man Who Raped them Stole Money, Food and Called for Ride.” The Hour, October 26, 2022. Last Modified October 28, 2022. Accessed October 31, 2022. https://www.thehour.com/news/article/Michael-Sharpe-charter-school-kidnapping-Hartford-17535267.php.
Knox, Matthew P. “Police Solve 1984 Sex Assault Cases Using Forensic Genealogy, Arrest Ex-CEO of Charter School Organization.” Journal Inquirer, November 18, 2020. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.journalinquirer.com/towns/windsor/police-solve-1984-sex-assault-cases-using-forensic-genealogy-arrest-ex-ceo-of-charter-school/article_e3134bae-29b2-11eb-9b32-f7906add8970.html.
Rondinone, Nicholas. “Investigators Use Forensic Genealogy to Charge Disgraced Former Jumoke Charter Group CEO with Sexual Assaults Dating Back to 1984.” Hartford Courant, November 17, 2020. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.courant.com/breaking-news/hc-br-1980s-rapes-arrest-jumoke-group-ceo-cold-case-20201117-utyrrjh3wzcdrkl6mccddp2fra-story.html.
Tepfer, Daniel. “Former Charter School Director Charged with Kidnapping Woman.” CTPost, November 17, 2020. Accessed December 27, 2020. https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Former-charter-school-director-charged-with-15734309.php