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Rape Suspect Held in Town That Sought Blacks' Prints

September 04, 1987|Associated Press

HOMESTEAD, Pa. — A 22-year-old black man called "the least suspected guy in town" was charged today with raping five elderly women, and police said the controversial fingerprinting of the town's black men indirectly lead to his capture.

Dennis Foy, who is unemployed and lives with his parents in this struggling steel town outside Pittsburgh, was charged with five counts of rape, one count of attempted rape, burglary, theft and receiving stolen property.

Police Chief Christopher Kelly said Foy raped six women, ages 64 to 85 and all living alone, between Aug. 10, 1983, and Aug. 25, 1987. He said one of the women has since died and Foy will not be charged with her rape.

"These ladies can go on with their lives now," Kelly said.

Kelly's strategy of asking black men to be fingerprinted drew fire from the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it violated blacks' constitutional rights, and Kelly was forced to defend his action on national television.

However, the effort had the support of most black and white residents, including Mayor Steve Simko, and Kelly said today he would thank each man who had submitted to the fingerprinting.

"I'd do it again," Kelly said of the fingerprinting. "If he was white, I'd do the same thing .... We were trying to stop a homicide."

Foy, who has no criminal record, was not among the 125 black men fingerprinted during a door-to-door canvass by police officers seeking information and asking for fingerprints.

Kelly said, however, Foy's name came up during interviews "as someone we might want to check out."

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