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Merrimack Valley

September 26, 2013

'Red car rapist' sentenced to 16 to 25 years in state prison

METHUEN - In seconds, the victim said she went from having a cigarette outside of her Lawrence boarding house to wondering if she’d see the light of the next day.

At gunpoint on May 23, 2010, Kenneth Poirier, dubbed the “red car rapist,” ordered her to get in his red car. Then he drove the woman to a wooded area of Methuen and raped her. After several hours, Poirier let the victim out of the car to urinate. She ran from the area and flagged down a police officer at a stop light and told him she’d been raped.

“No woman who comes across this defendant will be safe ... That night my life was destroyed,” the victim told a Lawrence Superior Court judge yesterday.

Convicted of aggravated rape on Tuesday, Poirier, 42, was yesterday sentenced to no less than 16 years and no more than 25 years in state prison. He faced a maximum penalty of life in prison for the rape conviction.

During sentencing, Judge Mary Ames noted jurors convicted Poirier of aggravated rape, agreeing that he threatened the victim with a gun before raping her.

Ames said the victim was a “vulnerable woman” Poirier targeted in a “predatory fashion.”

Poirier’s criminal record indicates he was also charged with forcibly raping a female friend in a car in 1988, just six months away from his 17th birthday. In the 1990s, he was also arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault and battery in the 1990s. In 1997, he and another man were charged with beating a woman “with a history of prostitution” after driving to the Old Ferry Road area of Methuen - the same place the May 2010 victim was raped, according to information Prosecutor Kate MacDougall provided the court yesterday.

DNA testing also linked Poirier to five rapes.

Police said Poirier trapped women in the red Pontiac Grand Am he drove. The car belonged to his mother.

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