Neighbors in disbelief of alleged serial rapist is arrested in Bear Hole


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WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The people who live in the small West Springfield community where an alleged rapist was arrested are trying to make sense of what police say happened so close to their homes.

Officers arrested 20-year-old Ali Ghaffar of West Springfield on Thursday, March 31 for several charges of rape and assault of at least six women as he was allegedly bringing another victim to the Bear Hole Reservoir in West Springfield.

According to a news release from Hampden District Attorney’s Office, one of the survivors informed police that she had just been threatened and raped by an unknown man on March 24, 2022.

After a lengthy investigation, the Hampden DA says they determined Ghaffar would pick up women in Springfield’s South End – and then drive them to Bear Hole – threatening them with a gun, raping them, and then leaving them in the woods.

Margaret Kleciak of West Springfield has lived near Bear Hole for 46 years.

“I have never felt afraid and walked in these woods at all times, day and night. That’s disturbing,” Kleciak said.

Ghaffar is being held without bail. The District Attorney worries there may be more victims. They’re asking anyone that may have information on the case or believe they were a victim of this suspect to contact his office at 413-505-5993 or the West Springfield Police Department at 413-263-3210 ext. 0.

Neighbors are hoping nothing like this ever happens again. “I’m really disturbed to hear that because I’ve always felt so safe in here,” Kleciak said.

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