Springfield city leaders respond to serial rape suspect’s arrest

Springfield city leaders respond to serial rape suspect's arrest
Published: Apr. 14, 2022 at 10:40 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -Local leaders are reacting, following the shocking arrest of an alleged serial rapist.

A 20-year-old man is now behind bars after authorities say he raped multiple women, after picking them up in Springfield and then bringing them to West Springfield to assault them.

Back in March, authorities found a woman walking along the Mass Pike, reporting she had been raped. They started searching for someone who matched the description she gave. After a thorough investigation, Authorities said they were able to catch Ali Ghaffar, right before they believe he was about to rape another victim.

We spoke with City Councilor Melvin Edwards of Ward Three, who represents the neighborhood where many of these victims were picked up to get his thoughts.

“No woman, no man should be the victim of somebody else’s bad choices and behavior,” said Edwards.

A community is on edge, after the shocking arrest of an alleged serial rapist in Hampden County.

After an extensive investigation by local and state authorities, 20-year-old Ali Ghaffar of West Springfield is accused of sexually assaulting six women over the course of nine months.

Investigators said Ghaffar picked up several of the victims near Marble Road and Main Street in Springfield and offered them rides to West Springfield, where he then allegedly raped them near Bear Hole Reservoir.

Local leaders reacted, saying they were disturbed to see crimes like this happening.

“Here we are in 2022, with all the education about civility, women’s rights, equality, and yet we still have predators walking around and taking advantage of people,” said Edwards.

Western Mass News sat down with Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards of Ward Three, who told us the neighborhood where these women were picked up is generally safe and crimes like this can happen anywhere.

“The site is not a reflection of anything negative about the city of West Springfield and the fact that these women were taken in downtown Springfield should also not be a reflection of the residents and the businesses that exist in the south end of Springfield,” said Edwards.

He said hearing about this string of crimes hit close to home.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first serial rapist we’ve had to deal with in the city of Springfield...It brought back sad memories for myself personally. My first thoughts were of Mister Gainor and one of his victims was a childhood friend of mine and my heart kind of dropped,” said Edwards.

Although six victims have come forward, the DA’s office believes there could be more. And Edwards is encouraging anyone who has information to share it with authorities.

“To the women who may be victims who are afraid to come forward, this community will support you. there are services available, we will wrap our arms around you and our hearts and prayers go out to you, the victims,” said Edwards.

Anyone with information can use Text-a-Tip or contact the West Springfield Police Department or DA’s Office. Meantime, Ghaffar is being held without bail, pending a dangerousness hearing.