'Predator' Allegedly Forced Men Into Bathrooms Before Assaulting Women

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities have arrested a New Jersey man accused of targeting couples headed to motels and forcing them to have sex before sexually assaulting the female victim himself.

Union County prosecutors said Rasheed Powell, 36, targeted couples at motels in Linden and Elizabeth on weekend nights over a period of six-weeks.

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1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer Reports From Elizabeth

Powell would force his way into the room at gunpoint where he would force the couple to engage in sexual acts and then order the male into a bathroom before sexually assaulting the female victim, according to First Assistant Prosecutor Albert Cernadas, Jr.

The assaults took place at the Swan Motel and Benedict Motel in Linden as well as the Spring Lane Motel and the Royal Motel in Elizabeth, Cernadas Jr. said.

Powell has been charged with:

  • 10 counts of 1st degree aggravated sexual assault
  • 10 counts of 1st degree aggravated sexual assault
  • 2 counts of 1st degree attempted aggravated sexual assault
  • 12 counts of 1st degree robbery
  • 6 counts of 2nd degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose

Investigators said they knew of at least six occasions, including two attacks last week, when the incidents happened.

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One of the motels allegedly targeted by the suspect. (credit: Eileen Lehpamer, 1010 WINS)

“Powell is clearly a sexual predator who acted quickly and viciously,” Cernadas Jr. said. “The efficient cooperation of several law enforcement agencies was able to connect the dots between the crimes and efficiently worked towards identifying the suspect and coordinating his arrest.”

At the time of at least two of the assaults Powell was driving a white Acura MDX with Pennsylvania license plates, registered to an address in Easton, authorities said. He was arrested while at the Springfield Municipal Court where he was responding to a traffic summons.

This investigation remains active and anyone with information is asked to contact Detectives Jim DiOrio and Benny Carvalho at the Elizabeth Police Department or Det. Patricia Gusmano of the Prosecutor’s Office at 908-527-4589.

Powell is currently in custody on $3 million bail.

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