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Charges: 'Dangerous man' choked, attempted sex assault on woman in Uptown

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The Hennepin County Attorney has filed several charges against a convicted rapist in connection with an attempted sexual assault in Minneapolis – and say he may be linked to more.

Keith Eugene Washington, 39, is facing three charges of 1st degree attempted criminal sexual conduct and one of 3rd degree assault, Attorney Mike Freeman announced Wednesday.

Washington, who was convicted of criminal sexual conduct in 2000 after choking and sexually assaulting a woman, is accused of carrying out an attack in the 2800 block of Emerson Ave. S., in Uptown, this past Sunday.

Freeman says that more charges may follow, as Washington could be linked to other crimes.

When he was found and arrested by police shortly following the attack early on Sunday morning, the attorney's office say he had a cell phone, ID card and groceries belonging to another woman who reported being choked to unconsciousness and sexually assaulted just two hours earlier a few blocks away.

"We believe Mr. Washington is a very dangerous man," Freeman said. "He has a history of choking women until they are unconscious and it is just good fortune that he hasn’t killed one of them.

"The investigation is continuing and we may be able to bring charges based on other victims. Regardless, we will vigorously prosecute this case, and if successful, seek the longest possible prison sentence."

Woman choked after being approached in street

According to the criminal complaint, police found the victim unconscious, in a state of partial undress and with signs of bruising at 4:43 a.m. After police roused her she gasped for air and started sobbing, telling the responding officer "he raped me."

She had been with her sister at some bars in the area earlier in the evening when they got in an argument, she told police. She went outside to call one of her other sisters for a ride home when she was approached by her attacker, who started talking to her, which she said bothered her.

He walked with her for a couple of blocks before tackling her to the ground, using his forearm to choke her while sitting on top of her before putting both his hands around her throat, squeezing "so hard she couldn't breathe or make a sound."

The victim blacked out, and when she came around she noticed her pants were unbuttoned and unzipped, and her cell phone was missing.

Two witnesses walked past the scene while the assault was being carried out after hearing "muffled screams," but her attacker "pointed something at them menacingly" after telling them "she's fine" as they walked over. The pair then went to hide behind a truck and called 911.

The charges against Washington are for various kinds of "attempted" criminal sexual conduct. The criminal complaint does state however that police found a wet spot on the crotch of the victim's jeans, and DNA swabbings from the victim are currently undergoing further testing.

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