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Suspect in East Coast rapes pleads not guilty

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A man suspected in a series of rapes along the East Coast has pleaded not guilty in a Connecticut case.

Aaron Thomas appeared briefly Tuesday in New Haven Superior Court on a charge that he raped a woman in New Haven in 2007. His attorney, public defender Joseph Lopez, entered the plea on behalf of Thomas, who kept his head lowered during the proceedings.

Thomas was arrested March 4 in his hometown of New Haven after authorities say DNA confirmed he was the so-called East Coast Rapist responsible for rapes and other attacks on 17 women since 1997 from Virginia to Connecticut.

The 39-year-old Thomas has been charged so far with the rape in Connecticut and three rapes in Virginia.