116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A North Liberty man with a history of sex crimes is in the Johnson County Jail, accused of raping a woman on a rooftop in downtown Iowa City this summer.
Around 1:40 a.m. July 25, a woman was leaving a bar and trying to find her friends when a man took her by the arm, guided her outside and up to a rooftop area, according to an Iowa City Police Department criminal complaint.
The man pushed her to the ground and sexually assaulted her, while covering her mouth with his hand and yelling at her as she told him to stop, the complaint stated.
After the alleged assault, the woman led officers to the rooftop area in the 200 block of East Washington Street and police found an Iowa driver's license belonging to Fitsum Hunegnaw Russell, according to a search warrant application.
Also, a sexual assault kit located DNA that matched Russell's, police said.
Russell was booked into the Johnson County Jail on Friday night, charged with third- degree sexual abuse — second or subsequent offense. The repeat offense enhanced charge raises the offense level from a Class C felony to a Class A felony. He is being held on $150,000 cash or surety bond.
Russell is a registered sex offender who had been living in the 500 block of Penn Court in North Liberty. According to the registry, he is 36 years old, not 33 as some criminal complaints indicate. Russell has three sex crime convictions.
In 2009, he was originally charged in Linn County with assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, but pleaded guilty to indecent exposure, a serious misdemeanor.
In March 2018, Russell was charged in Johnson County with third-degree sexual abuse. He was accused of grabbing a woman by the arm, pushing her back, getting on top of her, holding his hand over her mouth and nose and kissing her neck in August 2017. Russell pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor.
In September 2017, again in Johnson County, Russell was charged with assault with intent to commit sexual abuse resulting in bodily injury, a Class D felony. He was accused of holding a woman down against her will and trying to commit a sex act on her outside Mayflower Hall. She suffered scrapes and bruises in the attack, according to police. For that case, Russell pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, an aggravated misdemeanor.