CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) — A man living in Clearwater pleaded guilty to multiple charges after officials say he lived under a false name to avoiding serving a prison sentence for raping someone.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Douglas Edward Bennett, 77, was convicted of robbery, kidnapping, sexual contact, rape, and two counts of deviate sexual intercourse in 1975 and was supposed to serve nine to 18 years in Connecticut state prison.
The state allowed Bennett to stay out of custody while he appealed his case, but after his sentence was affirmed, he assumed the identity of Gordon Ewen — a man who died in 1945, according to Massachusetts death records.
The DOJ said in 2016, Bennett tried to submit a passport application using Ewen’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number.
The facade came to an end on Nov. 4, 2020 when Bennett was arrested on federal charges and a Connecticut warrant. A fingerprint comparison confirmed that “Gordon Ewen” was actually Douglas Bennett, a convicted rapist.
“Douglas Bennett ceased to exist in 1977…and from that time forward, I’ve spent forty-three years being Gordon Ewen,” Bennett said while speaking with family during a jail visit.
Federal agents also said they found notes in Bennett’s home detailing how the felon stole Ewen’s identity. They also found five guns and nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition.
Bennett faces a maximum sentence of 22 years for federal prison passport fraud, aggravated identity theft, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The date for his hearing is still pending.