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Sheriff James R. Metts

Major John Allard, PIO Office, 785-2415, 24-Hour Press Box: 799-2001, Ext. 1100

Convicted Sex Offender Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Woman Whom He Held Captive for Three Months

Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives on Tuesday, October 15 arrested a 52-year-old Pelion man, who is registered as a convicted sex offender, on charges that the man held a 52-year-old woman captive at his Pelion home for three months and sexually assaulted the woman while the woman was held against her will at the man’s residence.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said detectives arrested Paul Thomas Rawl, Jr., 52, of Pelion, on arrest warrants on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature and kidnapping. Rawl was being held on Wednesday, October 16 at the Lexington County Detention Center while awaiting a bond hearing.

Under South Carolina law, Rawl is required to register with the Sheriff’s Department as a convicted sex offender because Rawl was convicted on August 21, 2000 of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, Metts said. The victim in that case was a 12-year-old girl.

An arrest warrant alleges that between July 1 and October 14 Rawl used aggravated force to accomplish sexual battery as many as nine times daily on the 52-year-old woman, who lived with Rawl as his girlfriend, Metts said. Rawl sexually assaulted the woman after forcing the woman every night to swallow a pill of Xanax, which is a prescription medication that physicians generally prescribe for anxiety disorders and panic disorders. In addition, Rawl sexually assaulted the woman after hitting her with his hands and fists and pointing a loaded bow and arrow in the woman’s face, telling the woman that he was going to kill her.

In addition, an arrest warrant alleges that Rawl physically assaulted the 52-year-old woman in such a manner that the woman feared imminent bodily injury or death, Metts said. Rawl hit the woman with his hands and fists and shoved the woman’s head into a wall, creating a hole in the wall.

An arrest warrant further alleges that Rawl placed a dresser in front of a bedroom door at his home every night in order to ensure that the 52-year-old woman remained confined in the bedroom and could not escape from his residence, Metts said. Rawl forced the woman to swallow a pill of Xanax every night so that she would be physically incapable of escaping from his home. In addition, Rawl placed a recording device in the bedroom where the woman was confined so that he would be alerted if the woman made any physical movements to try to escape from his home. Rawl also programmed the burglar alarm system at his home so that he would be alerted if any door was opened at his home during the night.

In addition, an arrest warrant alleges that Rawl confined the 52-year-old woman to his home at all times that he was not physically with her, Metts said. Rawl also ensured that the woman did not have access to a cellular telephone.

The 52-year-old woman reported the physical abuse and sexual abuse to the Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday morning after the woman persuaded Rawl to take her to a medical office in Pelion for a physical examination, Metts said. Rawl forced the woman to perform a sexual act on him on Tuesday before he agreed to take the woman to the medical office.

Detectives began investigating the incidents on Tuesday and arrested Rawl on Tuesday afternoon, Metts said. Rawl was booked at the county Detention Center at 4:57 p.m. on Tuesday after detectives interviewed the 52-year-old woman and Rawl.


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