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James Banks

Apr 14, 2015 6:43 PM

Authorities say alleged Portsmouth rapist confined, strangled women


PORTSMOUTH - A city man who allegedly assaulted three women this year confined and strangled his victims during the attacks, according to authorities.

James Banks, 22, of 107 Richards Ave., used a fake name as he replied to ads at least one of the women had posted online. Then, after meeting up with the individual women, he forced them to commit sexual acts, often while choking and/or confining them, according to an arrest warrant filed at Portsmouth Circuit Court.

The first reported assault was called into Portsmouth Police Department on Jan. 16. A 26-year-old woman complained that a man named "Mike" responded to a massage ad she placed online. When they got together, he forced her onto a mattress and threatened to use a gun to hurt her.

Then he pinned down her arms and tried to strangle her.

The second alleged rape happened on March 15. A 27-year-old woman posted an ad on Backpage.com, which Banks responded to. During the incident, Banks took the woman's cell phone and locked her in a room.

She escaped by jumping from a third story window.

Banks tried to get in contact with the woman twice after the alleged attack, using Backpage each time, according to the affidavit. She described Banks as a "scary person" with a New York accent.

The final alleged victim, a 22-year-old woman who met Banks at a mall, reported she was sexual assaulted to medical professionals at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover after Banks convinced her to get into the backseat of the silver Toyota Camry he was driving on March 27.

The woman reported Banks grabbed her by the throat, choked her, and pulled her hair during the alleged attack. He stole her cell phone, she said, forcing her to use a stranger's cell phone to call her mother for help.

Banks was arrested on April 2 in Kittery, Maine, by authorities. A probable cause hearing was scheduled for Banks on Tuesday afternoon at Portsmouth Circuit Court, but he waived his right to attend that hearing.

Prosecutors said they will now present their evidence to a grand jury at Rockingham County Superior Court in Brentwood. If the grand jury finds there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial, Banks will be indicted.


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