Saturday, July 20, 2024

Cambridge police deputy commission Pauline Wells speaks Thursday at Cambridge District Court in Medford with District Attorney Marian Ryan. The image is a screen capture from a video posted by Ryan’s office.

A Cambridge man was due for arraignment Thursday in the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl committed more than 22 years ago – when the suspect was a lauded athlete at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School.

It was the middle of the night Oct. 18, 2000, when a man entered the second-floor bedroom of the girl, rushed to her bed and covered her mouth. He ordered her to be quiet as he sexually assaulted her, officials said at a Thursday press conference at Cambridge District Court in Medford.

“During the attack, he specifically asked the victim how old she was,” according to the office of District Attorney Marian Ryan.

The girl managed to run out of her bedroom and scream for help, and the intruder followed her and ran past her, down a flight of stairs and out of the house. Police searched the neighborhood for the attacker without success.

Now it seems clear why: Law enforcement officials are charging Roger W. Reddick Jr., 41, of Amory Street, with a crime committed when he was 18 and living less than a half-mile from the scene of the crime – and as a Boston Globe Greater Boston League Track All-Star for 2000, he could have been able to sprint home before police arrived.

“This case is every parent’s nightmare – a violent stranger entering your home in the middle of the night and assaulting your child in their bed,” Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said Thursday.

The sexual assault turned into a cold case, despite a crime scene response team searching the home and even recovering a latent fingerprint from a jewelry box identified as being out of place. In 2009, police were able to identify that print as having been left by the left middle finger of Reddick, Ryan and Cambridge police commissioner Christine Elow said. Police did not “at that point” have sufficient corroboration to charge him, though, and a pair of green patterned men’s boxer shorts left at the foot of the victim’s bed didn’t provide sufficient DNA for the day’s technology. State Police Crime Laboratory chemists were unable to develop a profile eligible for uploading to a national database for matching.

In September, a cold-case unit that Ryan launched in March 2019 began a renewed examination with the crime laboratory, where technological advances allowed identification of a major DNA profile on the boxers. Authorities said Reddick was the source.

Reddick was to be arraigned Thursday on three counts of rape of a child with force. Reddick was described by officials as known to Cambridge police, with a local criminal history and arrests reaching at least as far as Revere and Wilmington, where in 2016 he was arrested on outstanding warrants and charged with unarmed robbery, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of property damage.

He was taken into custody without incident at around 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Boston, police said. Reddick may have recently moved there from a Mid-Cambridge home near Inman Square.

“This case represents how committed the Cambridge Police Department is to bringing justice to survivors and their families, and how diligently we will work with our partners to ensure violent criminals are identified and apprehended, no matter how long it takes,” Elow said. “We will always be here for survivors and will never give up trying to find and prosecute the people behind such horrendous acts.”

Ryan called it a success for the cold-case unit.

“I made a commitment that we would take every opportunity to use advances in technology to proceed with previously uncharged cases. This case is a perfect example of that work and I am grateful that we are able to begin the process of holding the defendant accountable for the events of that evening,” Ryan said.