Cuyahoga County

Is Michael Irby one of Cleveland's most prolific serial rapists?


Cleveland -- A man who could be one of Cleveland's most prolific serial rapists admitted Thursday to a 1994 rape, the third such crime linked to him by DNA found in a decades old rape kit.

Michael Irby, 53, told authorities he attacked up to 25 women before going to prison in the mid- 1990s – and that he would rape again if let out, according to Denise Salerno, an assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor who handled the case.

His crimes included especially heinous acts meant to degrade and dehumanize his victims, authorities say.

Irby, so far, is one of the worst serial rapists investigated and prosecuted by the DNA Cold Case Task Force, said Assistant County Prosecutor Rick Bell, who heads the task force.

With more than half of Cleveland's 4,000 rape kits tested, up to 45 percent of the cases involve a potential serial rapist, according to task force statistics.

Thursday's plea was Irby's 12th in a rape case. He admitted to attacking a woman on Aug. 10, 1994. The woman, who has since died, told police at the time a man had grabbed her off the street, forced her into an abandoned apartment and raped her.

Bell said the guilty plea "should bring a measure of justice to his now-deceased victim."

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