PORTLAND – A Portland man charged with sexually assaulting a 33-year-old woman early Thursday served four years in prison for a previous rape conviction.

Kevin Avanzato, 41, made his initial appearance on the new charge in Cumberland County Superior Court on Friday. He was not asked to enter a plea. Justice Joyce Wheeler set bail at $200,000 in property or $50,000 cash.

Avanzato and the woman, with whom he had a relationship in the past, arrived at a mutual friend’s apartment on Cumberland Avenue at 2 a.m., police said.

Later, as the two left the apartment, Avanzato allegedly tried to force the woman to have sex with him, police said. She was able to get away with minor injuries after being knocked to the ground, police said.

After she reported the alleged attack, police interviewed Avanzato and then charged him with gross sexual assault.

Avanzato was sentenced to 10 years with all but four suspended in 1992 for gross sexual assault and in 2004 was convicted of unlawful sexual contact.

His criminal history dates back to 1988 and includes convictions for terrorizing, criminal trespass, reckless conduct and multiple instances of assault. He was also convicted in 2008 of failing to comply with the state’s sex offender registry law.

Cyndi Amato, executive director of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, said the sex offenses in which there are arrests and prosecutions are a small fraction of the assaults that actually occur.

Amato said acquaintance rapes account for between two-thirds and three-quarters of sexual assaults.

“What a perpetrator is looking for are opportunity and vulnerability, and those two things are going to happen within relationships,” she said.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

[email protected]

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at:

[email protected]