SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A news conference held in the Hampden District Attorney’s Office at Tower Square in Springfield on Wednesday announced the investigation of a serial rapist taken into custody.
Officers arrested 20-year-old Ali Ghaffar of West Springfield on Thursday, March 31 for several charges of rape and assault of at least six women as he was allegedly bringing another victim to the Bear Hole Reservoir in West Springfield.
According to a news release from Hampden District Attorney’s Office, one of the survivors informed police that she had just been threatened and raped by an unknown man on March 24, 2022 at about 9:50 a.m. She told officials that she had been in a need of a ride in the area of Marble Street in Springfield. She accepted a ride from a man that appeared to have tan skin, long hair, and was in his early twenties.
The driver ended up driving her towards the North End of Springfield, ended up on the highway towards Holyoke, and then appeared at the area of the Bear Hole Reservoir in West Springfield. When at Bear Hole, the suspect allegedly had a gun pointed at her head and continued to sexually assault her. The survivor had then been found alone by Massachusetts State Police Troopers from Westfield, walking eastbound on the westbound lane of the Mass Pike in West Springfield.
Massachusetts State Police Troopers from the Westfield barracks notified the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office (Hampden SPDU) about the survivor that day and was taken to Baystate Medical Center.
In the course of the investigation, members of the Hampden SPDU learned the West Springfield Police Department had been investigating identical reported sexual assaults over the last eight months. Each survivor had been picked up in the City of Springfield and then driven to a remote area of West Springfield where the sexual assaults occurred.
Dates of each incident are as follows:
- March 4, 2022, at approximately 10:20 p.m., assault reported in West Springfield, Morgan Road (Bear Hole),
- February 26, 2022, at approximately 9:30 p.m., assault reported at West Springfield, Middle School
- February 19, 2022, at approximately 9:30 p.m., assault reported in West Springfield, Amostown Rd (Bear Hole)
- January 16, 2022, at approximately 12:30 p.m., assault reported in West Springfield Amostown Rd (Bear Hole)
- July 29, 2021, at approximately 12:30 p.m., assault reported in West Springfield, Amostown Rd (Bear Hole)
- June 11, 2021, at approximately 10:15 p.m., assault reported in West Springfield Amostown Rd (Bear hole)
District Attorney Gulluni also stated, “The suspect in this case was preying upon vulnerable women. While his conduct was becoming more frequent and bold, State Police investigators in my office and our local partners marshaled resources over mere hours and conducted an outstanding investigation knowing that women remained at risk. This rapid and formidable deployment occurred to protect the public from further harm. I am very proud and appreciative of all involved.”
Watch in full: Hampden County District Attorney discusses arrest of alleged serial rapist
After the rape incident on March 24th, members of Hampden SPDU worked with members of the Massachusetts State Police High-Risk Victims Unit, and Technical Services Unit, West Springfield Police Department, and the Springfield Police Department to find the suspect.
On March 30, the West Springfield Police Department had been made aware of another sexual assault that occurred on Bear Hole Reservoir, her experience was identical to the other woman survivors. This survivor was left at Bear Hole Reservoir and seen walking down Morgan Road where a resident then contacted police.
Survivors were able to identify Ali Ghaffar as the suspect, which led officers to locate him.
“The identified survivors showed great courage and resiliency in standing up and speaking out. These acts of strength likely prevented other women from suffering harm at the hands of the suspect. We will now fight alongside them for justice in the court system.”
On March 31, at 7:45 p.m. officers observed the suspect’s car in the South End of Springfield while a woman entered the vehicle and traveled to the Bearhole Reservoir. When the vehicle was at a stop, police officers took Ghaffar into custody, preventing another rape. Ghaffar has been arrested.
DNA samples taken from Ghaffar matched a sample taken from the March 24th survivor.
Ghaffar is being held without the right to bail and is pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for April 21. He is charged with the following:
- Aggravated Rape (4 Counts)
- Kidnapping (4 Counts)
- Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (3 Counts)
- Threat to Commit a Crime (5 Counts)
- Assault with Intent to Rape
- Armed Kidnapping with Sexual Assault
- Rape (2 Counts)
The District Attorney is asking anyone that may have information on the case or believe they were a victim to this suspect to contact his officer at 413-505-5993 or the West Springfield Police Department at 413-263-3210 ext. 0.