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Suspect held in three assaults

Women attacked in Savin Hill area early Sunday

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis (center) yesterday described the arrest in Sunday’s assaults in the Savin Hill area. Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis (center) yesterday described the arrest in Sunday’s assaults in the Savin Hill area. (David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
By Meghan E. Irons
Globe Staff / September 20, 2011

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Within three hours early Sunday morning, three women in the Savin Hill area made separate 911 calls to police, saying that a man with gun had attacked them at different locations.

He had raped one of the women, police said, but the other two managed to get away. Each victim described her attacker as a stocky, muscular black male wearing a baseball cap with a “B’’ on the front, a dark hooded sweatshirt, and dark jeans.

Yesterday, Boston police said they have that man in custody.

Walter Mains, a 31-year-old from Dorchester, was arraigned in Dorchester District Court late yesterday afternoon on charges related to the attempted assaults of two of the women. He is also the prime suspect in an alleged rape of the third woman, but had not yet been formally charged, police and prosecutors said.

Commissioner Ed Davis said Mains has a history of arrests in sexual assault cases, including a charge of aggravated rape that was later dismissed. He said the women picked Mains from a police photo array of possible suspects, and Mains was arrested yesterday morning at a home in Hyde Park.

“He’s a very dangerous person,’’ said Davis at a press conference at police headquarters yesterday.

Mains did not appear in court yesterday, but a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. His court-appointed attorney, Michelle Troiano, sought to have the charges dismissed, saying prosecutors do not have any evidence linking Mains to the attacks beyond the identifications based on photos.

She contended that the victims described the suspect as stocky, but his booking record indicated that Mains is slim. She also said the description came shortly after the reported assaults, but police did not find Mains anywhere nearby.

“He’s a convenient suspect, your honor,’’ Troiano told Judge Annette Forde, referring to the previous allegations against him.

About 1:40 a.m. Sunday, a woman said a man had approached her on Savin Hill Avenue while armed with a gun. He repeatedly told her to “come here’’ and then chased her around a car, Assistant District Attorney Holly Broadbent said during the court session.

The woman called out to people nearby, and the attacker fled.

About 2:08 a.m., another woman reported that a man with a gun approached her on Savin Hill Avenue, threatened her, and sexually assaulted her, police said.

The third call came at 3:01 a.m. from a woman who said a man followed her into the vestibule of her apartment building on Harbor View Street, and stole cash from her. During the robbery, Broadbent said, the man reached inside the victim’s shirt and grabbed her breasts and demanded a sexual act. But she pushed him away and ran outside, the prosecutor said.

Mains was charged with assault and annoying or accosting a person of the opposite sex in the first incident. In the third incident, he was charged with armed robbery, assault with intent to rape, and indecent assault and battery. Authorities said they also plan to bring charges against him in the second incident.

At the time of his arrest, Mains was free on bail in connection with a recent incident for which he is charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Forde revoked the bail yesterday, and ordered Mains held on $50,000 cash bail.

Mains previously faced charges in connection with a 2009 attempted rape in Roxbury. But while the case was pending, the victim chose not to take part, leaving prosecutors without sufficient evidence to proceed. The case was dismissed.

In 2002, he was charged with two counts of aggravated rape and one count of kidnapping. But those charges also were dismissed, according to records in Dorchester District Court.

Mains is expected back in court on Oct. 13.

Meghan Irons can be reached at mirons@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.