Man who raped several woman along East Coast sentenced to life; guilty in multiple assaults

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A Connecticut man who became known as the "East Coast Rapist" for a series of sexual assaults over more than a decade from Rhode Island to Virginia has been sentenced to life in prison.

The three life terms imposed Friday on Aaron Thomas of New Haven, Conn., followed his guilty plea last year in Manassas for abducting three teenage trick-or-treaters and raping two of them on Halloween 2009 in Prince William County.

Those attacks were the last in a series of 17 assaults going back to 1997 that police linked by DNA evidence. Thomas was arrested in Connecticut in March 2011 after a multi-state law enforcement effort.

Authorities say Thomas was responsible for assaults in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut and Rhode Island.