Crime History, Feb. 10, 1986: Wrestling standout accused of rape runs off to ski slopes of Europe

On this day, Feb. 10, in 1986, an 18-year-old Connecticut wrestling star raped a 16-year-old girl, then raped another teen girl four days later before jumping bail and fleeing to Europe with help from his wealthy parents.

The case of the preppie fugitive attracted the media spotlight. Alex Kelly was a handsome, all American jock, and his rich parents spent a lot of money to keep him from facing his accusers in court.

Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly

Even before he fled the county, Kelly was making headlines. He was arrested twice while awaiting trial for the first rape. Once for allegedly harassing three women at a college bar, and again for an automobile accident in which the police say Kelly left his injured girlfriend bleeding on the road and ran away.

On the eve of his rape trial Alex Kelly fled the country. For more than eight years, Alex Kelly lived a jet-set lifestyle, skiing, hang gliding and mountain climbing. He surrendered to police in Switzerland in 1995, after authorities threatened to arrest his parents.

During a sensational trial, the victim testified that Kelly choked and raped her in his car and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

When the jury announced a guilty verdict, Kelly cried: “I didn’t do this. Why are you doing this to me? God, I am not guilty.”

He pleaded no contest to the second rape charge and served 10 years.

Kelly was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for the first rape. He later pleaded no contest to the second rape, but received no additional jail time. The charges related to the bar and accident incidents were dropped as part of the plea.

– Scott McCabe



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