Clinic attack suspect was accused of North Charleston sexual assault

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, is accused in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Three people were killed and nine others inured. (El Paso County Sheriff's Office via AP)

Police records show that the suspect in the deadly attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in South Carolina in 1992.

Fifty-seven-year-old Robert Lewis Dear was arrested in North Charleston, South Carolina, on a charge of criminal sexual conduct after a woman said he put a knife to her neck, forced her into her apartment and sexually assaulted her after hitting her in the mouth. No records show how the case was ultimately handled.

Investigators said Dear told them he knew the woman and had consensual sex with her.

Little information about Dear’s background has been released, and documents in the Colorado Springs case have been sealed.

Fifty-seven-year-old Robert Lewis Dear appeared before a judge in a brief video hearing on Monday, standing next to public defender Daniel King. He’s the same lawyer who represented Colorado theater shooting gunman James Holmes.

Dear wore a white vest and blinked periodically as the judge spoke to him. He did not speak much. He said “yes” twice when asked if he understood his rights and the first-degree murder charges he faces. He responded “no questions” when the judge asked if he had any about the charges.

The district attorney in Colorado Springs says Dear could be charged with crimes other than first-degree murder.

Fifty-seven-year-old Robert Lewis Dear is being held on suspicion of murder but prosecutor Dan May said Monday that other charges are still possible. He didn’t elaborate.

Speaking after Dear’s first court appearance, May also said that he has been in touch with federal prosecutors about the case but didn’t say what they’ve been discussing.


Dear is scheduled to be charged Dec. 9.


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