A North Carolina man recently released from prison after serving a 20-year sentence for murder is behind bars again on suspicion of raping a deaf woman as she was sleeping inside her home.
As NBC News reported, 37-year-old Freeman Scott Ireland was arrested late Monday evening after authorities responded to the alleged victim’s home.
According to police reports, the suspect “sexually assaulted (the victim) while she was still sleeping inside her home.”
Ireland was reportedly still at the residence when investigators arrived and was booked into Moore County Detention Center on suspicion of second-degree forcible rape with bond set at $500,000. The alleged victim, who had reportedly known the suspect for two decades, was transported from the scene to an area hospital.
Officials say she had been providing Ireland with a place to stay in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
“There is no place in our community for predators, sexual or otherwise,” said Southern Pines Police Chief Robert Temme.
In a statement on the matter, he emphasized the importance of protecting the victim and others from the potentially dangerous suspect.
“I have worked closely with our law enforcement partners at the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Correction, to ensure that an additional arrest warrant was issued for Freeman Scott Ireland to further provide the highest level of safety possible, not only for the victim in this case, but for the entire community as well,” the police chief wrote.
Court records indicate the suspect had been released from prison in May after serving a sentence that resulted from his 1998 conviction for a murder the previous year. He pleaded guilty to killing a 61-year-old man during a home invasion and robbery in Southport.
[Featured image: Freeman Scott Ireland, Southern Pines Police Department]