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‘I raped you’ Facebook message leads to arrest of American in France after 3-year manhunt


A California man accused of sexually assaulting a Pennsylvania teen in 2013 and sending her a Facebook message about the rape eight years later has been taken into custody in France following a three-year manhunt.

Ian Thomas Cleary, of Saratoga, was arrested last month in Metz, near the France and Germany border, where he’s being held pending extradition hearings, a French prosecutor confirmed Tuesday.

U.S. authorities have been on the hunt for the 31-year-old American since June 2021, when the Adams County District Attorney’s office in Pennsylvania issued a warrant for his arrest.

FILE - Shannon Keeler poses for a portrait in the United States on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Shannon Keeler poses for a portrait in the United States on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

The former Gettysburg College student is accused of stalking a fellow student at a college party in late 2013. Cleary, who was 20 at the time, allegedly assaulted 18-year-old Shannon Keeler as she texted her friends for help.

Even though Keeler reported the rape to authorities after it happened — and even had to endure a painful rape exam on the day of the assault — charges weren’t filed against Cleary until nearly eight years later.

In the summer of 2021, the victim went back to authorities after reading Facebook messages that appeared to have been sent to her by Cleary.

“So I raped you,” he wrote in one of the messages. “I’ll never do it to anyone ever again,” he added. “I’ll pray for you.”

After the warrant for Cleary’s arrest was issued, Keeler said she was grateful. However, she noted the only reason why he was being sought by police was because she had gone public with her story, “which no survivor should have to do in order to obtain justice,” she said.

Cleary — who, according to his website, has worked for Tesla but left the company to become a writer — was arrested on a street in Metz on April 24.

He told local authorities he had arrived in France from Albania “two or three years ago.”

According to a French official, Cleary said he had only arrived in Metz recently but didn’t have housing there.

With News Wire Services

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