Cleary mugshot
ACCUSED - Ian Thomas Cleary, pictured in a bulletin from the US Marshals Service. (Handout)

A 31-year-old Saratoga man accused of raping a woman and later admitting it can be extradited to the United States, a French court has ruled.

And the lawyer who helped publicize the case says she’s “thrilled” to see Ian Thomas Cleary, who is charged with felony second degree sexual assault, facing justice.

“The survivor has literally waited several years,” Laura Dunn, a victim rights attorney who formerly represented the accusing witness, told the Los Gatan. “We did not know where he was at the time.”

The Los Gatan does not typically identify victims of sexual violence, but Shannon Keeler opted to forgo anonymity in speaking out about what she says Cleary did to her.

The Associated Press reported that after a three-year search, on Monday the Court of Appeal of Metz said Cleary could be extradited, though he is trying to protest this decision.

According to Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania records, Cleary was charged with sexual assault relating to a Dec. 14, 2013, encounter with Keeler, who was in college at the time.

He later sent her a message over Facebook that said, “So I raped you.”

‘We didn’t know when—if ever—he would be located’

—Laura Dunn, attorney

Other messages included, “I’ll never do it to anyone ever again.”; “I need to hear your voice.”; and, “I’ll pray for you,” the AP reported.

Dunn says authorities knew about the messages but hadn’t taken action.

“This is the kind of evidence you want. You have the direct confession,” she said. “We went to the District Attorney and pushed them to issue the warrant.”

The problem was, Cleary was nowhere to be found.

“We didn’t know when—if ever—he would be located,” she said. “There was information that he could be abroad. We just had no idea where.”

Keeler is now represented by the Pennsylvania Coalition to Advance Respect.

A representative for France’s Ministry of Justice did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The initial investigator on the case, Gettysburg Borough Police Department officer Chris Evans, who was promoted to sergeant Monday, was unavailable for comment.

The agency’s chief of police forwarded a press release related to the case from 2021.

On his website, Cleary describes himself as a gothic-medieval fiction writer.

In one short story, titled “Syllogism of the Cherub,” he makes several references to sexual assault.

“Human women were raped near the manger, and often hoisted to the kitchen for eating…if, according to one lord, / —Their bosoms were fit,” he writes on page 23, following it up a few pages later with, “To the left a room was kept for the human slave girls who were viciously raped by the pig wellborn’s of the coalition.”

Dunn says she’s aware of his various writings.

“I’m sure those are the things the District Attorney will be looking at to see if there’s any evidentiary value,” she said.

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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