BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A former Florida resident and self-proclaimed crusader for children’s rights who eluded authorities on a rape charge for nearly two years after faking his death is now locked up in Scotland.
In the latest twist to a tale that has attracted international attention, Nicholas Alahverdian, 34, appeared in a wheelchair Friday with a towel over his head in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. A judge revoked his bail after Alahverdian was a no-show at a Thursday extradition hearing.
Police used a battering ram to bust into an apartment Thursday to nab Alahverdian who was arrested last month in a hospital room. He had been admitted under the alias Arthur Knight and was on a ventilator suffering from Covid-19 at the time.
Alahverdian first made headlines about a decade ago claiming he had been a victim of sexual abuse several times while he was in protective custody in Rhode Island.
He won an undisclosed settlement after filing a federal lawsuit pro se against a slew of defendants, including the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration and a Bradenton children’s psychiatric hospital.
Alahverdian alleged he was “assaulted within the first two weeks” of living in the Bradenton facility and he made similar allegations against group homes in other states.
“Take your worst nightmare and multiply it by 5,000,” he said at the time. “There were rapes. There were beatings.”
Ironically, at the time of the lawsuit, Alahverdian had already been convicted of sexual imposition and public indecency for groping a woman in Dayton, Ohio in 2008.
The extradition involves an alleged 2008 rape case in Utah that prosecutors tied to Alahverdian two years ago with DNA evidence from the Ohio case.
Utah County Prosecutor David Leavitt is now trying to extradite Alahverdian.
“He is a danger, especially to women,” Leavitt said. “We believe wherever he’s been there’s potentially other victims.”
Allegations against Alahverdian have also surfaced in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
As the legal noose tightened from the sexual assault cases and claims Alahverdian fraudulently ran up nearly $200,000 in credit card debt, he announced he was dying from late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma
A woman claiming to be his wife announced his demise in February 2020, prompting an outpouring from Rhode Island lawmakers and others as well as obituaries that were published across the country.
Alahverdian had used more than a dozen aliases while he was on the run, according to investigators and even ordered his own ambulance to try to leave the Scottish hospital last month. That plot was foiled.
“He’s obviously a flight risk,” Leavitt said. “He’s tried to flee more than once.”
Leavitt said there is “no way” for him to know if Alahverdian’s lawsuit claims involving the Bradenton facility and other locations are true, but he reflected on his more than 30 years of experience in the criminal justice system.
“Today’s perpetrators are always yesterday’s victims. The likelihood that he was a victim as a child is high,” Leavitt said. “But it doesn’t change the fact that he’s a danger and needs to be kept from the general public.”
An indication Alahverdian will not go gently during the extradition process came during his Friday bail hearing.
The Utah rape case is filed against Nicholas Rossi, which is Alahverdian’s birth name. When asked by the judge if he was Rossi, the defendant mumbled, “no.”
An extradition hearing is scheduled for Feb. 17.