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Posted on: December 18, 2017

Man Indicted for String of Sexual Assaults, 2005 Sex Assault Kit Helps Identify Suspect

PHOENIX— A Maricopa County Grand Jury has delivered an indictment charging Michael Paladino (D.O.B. 04/07/1989) with six counts of Sexual Assault related to cases from 2003 through 2006.

“We now have the necessary investigative findings to be able to move forward with criminal charges and hold this defendant accountable for his actions,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This is the seventh indictment from our Office where testing has identified a suspect in an unsolved sex assault case.”

In April of this year, law enforcement received notification that a previously untested sexual assault kit from 2005 had been tested as part of a $1.9 million grant from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Elimination Program. That kit had come back with a match to the DNA of Michael Paladino. Police detectives then found Paladino was listed as a suspect in multiple sexual assault cases in the East Valley. Many of the victims were juveniles at the time the assaults occurred.

Grant funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance Sex Assault Kit Initiative program provides funds to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for a dedicated detective to assist in investigations related to previously untested sexual assault kits. This detective was asked to lead the multi-jurisdiction investigation into the sexual assaults involving Paladino. The detective’s investigation allowed prosecutors to establish a link in the separate cases and secure an indictment for the sexual assaults.

On November 29, 2017 Paladino was arrested for a non-related driving offense and gave investigators the opportunity to interview him in relation to the sexual assaults. Paladino denied each of the victim’s allegations of sexual assault.

The indictment announced today is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Paladino is currently in custody, his next scheduled court date is January 29, 2018.

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