Port Huron Man Charged With Kidnapping, Multiple Sex Assaults After Old Rape Kits Processed

DETROIT (WWJ) – A Port Huron man is facing multiple charges, including several counts of rape, for a crimes that allegedly occurred nearly six years ago, and authorities say the delay in the case was caused by failing to process rape kits.

Anthony Thornton, 46, was charged Tuesday in 36th District Court with kidnapping, multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment in two separate cases.

The case was brought by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, with the assistance of the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a program that aids authorities in solving serious crimes against lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons.

“These cases illustrate the tragedy of Michigan’s failure to quickly process thousands of rape kits in Detroit and the importance of Prosecutor Worthy’s longtime crusade to bring the perpetrators of sex crimes to justice,” Fair Michigan President Dana Nessel said in a statement. “An accused serial rapist evaded justice for years, and the victims’ demands for justice were unaddressed.”

It is alleged that, on April 20, 2010, Thornton met his first victim, a lesbian, at a homeless shelter in Detroit. The victim accompanied Thornton and two other men to an abandoned house to drink and smoke. When victim attempted to leave, prosecutors say Thornton and the other men allegedly held her down and took turns raping her. The victim had a rape kit collected, but the kit was not processed until March 20, 2015. Officials say DNA pulled from the kit matched a sample previously given by Thornton.

It is also alleged that, on March 8, 2011, Thornton’s second victim was invited to a home in Detroit by a friend. When the victim arrived, the friend was not there but Thornton was. Prosecutors say Thornton allegedly overpowered the victim and raped her. Thornton allegedly only stopped his attack when he heard someone at the door, at which time the victim was able to escape through a back window and immediately reported the crime. Her rape kit was recently processed, and DNA matched Thornton’s profile, according to officials. The victim also identified Thornton as her attacker.

For these two cases, Thornton is charged with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of kidnapping, and two counts of unlawful imprisonment. First-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping are felonies punishable by up to life in prison. Second-degree criminal sexual conduct and unlawful imprisonment are felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Thornton was arraigned on January 24, 2017, and was given a $100,000 cash bond. He’s due back in court for a probable cause conference on Jan. 31, and a preliminary exam on Feb. 7.

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