116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A man with a history of sexual assault convictions in Johnson County has now been charged with sexual abuse in Linn County in connection with an attack in April 2021 in Cedar Rapids.
Fitsum Hunegnaw Russell, 33, reportedly assaulted a woman who was sitting in her parked car on Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, on April 25, 2021. He got into her car and forcibly sexually assaulted her, according to a criminal complaint.
A warrant was issued for Russell’s arrest on March 9, 2022, but he was already in custody in the Iowa Medical and Classification Center for a previous sexual assault conviction. Russell was transported to Linn County Jail on Friday to face the new charges — third-degree sexual abuse and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
The previous conviction was for third-degree sexual abuse in Johnson County. That abuse took place in July 2021, a few months after the alleged assault in Cedar Rapids.
In the July case, Russell grabbed a woman by the arm who had been trying to leave a bar in Iowa City and find her friends. Russell took the woman to the roof of the building and sexually assaulted her, covering her mouth with his hand and yelling at her to shut up when she told him to stop, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
Russell pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in the Iowa Medical and Classification Center.
Russell previously had pleaded guilty in Johnson County to two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.
In September 2017, he was charged with assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and false imprisonment after he held a woman on the ground and attempted to commit a sex act on her behind the Mayflower Residence Hall in Iowa City. He fled when police were called to the scene.
In March 2018, Russell was charged with third-degree sexual abuse for an attack that happened in August 2017. Russell approached a woman on the 300 block of East College Street in Iowa City. When she told him she was going home, he said “no, you are not,” and pushed her back, causing her head to hit a brick wall. He pushed her to the ground and got on top of her. She was able to scream for help, and Russell ran away when people came.
The charges for both 2017 attacks went through the court system together, and in August 2018 he pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. All the other charges were dropped. He was sentenced to two years in the Johnson County Jail.
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