⚫ A Union County man is charged with kidnapping and sexual assault

⚫ The man targeted a 12-year-old girl walking home from the movies, cops say

⚫ This is not his first time facing sexual assault charges

A Union County man released from prison less than a year ago is accused of kidnapping a girl walking home from the movies and then raping her, according to authorities.

Keith Ashley-Drake, 51, was arrested on March 31 on charges related to the horrifying incident that took place on March 17.

He has not been granted release pending trial and remains locked up at the Essex County Jail as of July 28, records show.

Ashley-Drake is charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, and third-degree child endangerment.

The victim, identified as a 12-year-old Irvington girl, was walking home from the movies at around 10 p.m. Officials said she was approached by Ashley-Drake who "coaxed" her into his vehicle.

Ashley-Drake then drove the girl to his home in Fanwood, where he sexually assaulted her the following day, Union County Prosecutor William Daniel said. An investigation by the Union County Special Victims Unit led to his arrest in Irvington.

Keith Ashley-Drake (DOC)
Keith Ashley-Drake in state prison (DOC)

State records show Ashley-Drake has spent years in and out of prison for various crimes including resisting arrest and credit card fraud. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison and parole supervision for life for the 2005 sexual assault of an 18-year-old female neighbor. However, he was not required to register as a sex offender.

Ashley-Drake was released from state prison on May 28, 2022, according to the Department of Corrections.

Daniel said the investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Union County SVU Sergeant Nick Veltre at (908) 347-7330.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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