Campaign volunteer suspected in 3 rapes

Man arrested day before election delivering campaign yard signs for Democrats

A Denver man with political connections was arrested earlier this month in Bayfield after DNA evidence linked him to several sexual assaults.

William Costello, 47, is suspected of raping three people not known to him, including a 13-year-old girl, dating back to 2008 in the Denver area.

Costello is a real estate broker and active volunteer with Democratic campaigns.

He was delivering campaign signs Nov. 5 in the Durango area when he was arrested by the Bayfield Marshal’s Office in cooperation with the FBI. He was driving a blue 2012 Mercedes-Benz owned by Democratic political consultant Mike Stratton.

The stop occurred about 11:30 a.m. in the 45000 block of U.S. Highway 160, a few miles east of Bayfield.

DNA evidence suggests Costello is connected to three rapes: one involving a 13-year-old girl in March 2008, a second involving a 21- or 22-year-old woman in August 2010, and a third involving a 49-year-old woman in September 2011, according to arrest reports provided by the Denver District Attorney’s Office.

In all three cases, Costello took the victims for a short car ride to a secluded area and forcibly assaulted them. All three woman submitted to rape examinations, which returned positive DNA matches to Costello, according to the arrest reports.

The identifications were made possible in part because of Katie’s Law, which took effect last year and requires police to collect DNA samples from anyone charged with a felony.

Prosecutors said there may be more victims.

Authorities have not released a photograph of Costello, saying the investigation could move beyond Denver and into neighboring jurisdictions where photo lineups are possible.

Costello also is suspected of impersonating a police officer and assaulting a 68-year-old man June 30 in a parking lot at King Soopers in Denver.

The man was collecting anti-abortion signatures and asked Costello to sign his clipboard, according to an arrest report. Costello shouted obscenities at the man and told him he supported abortion rights. The man told Costello he could still go to heaven. Costello grabbed the clipboard, pushed the man off his bicycle and threw the clipboard to the ground, according to an arrest warrant. The man broke his hip in the fall.

A witness provided a license plate number that was registered to Costello. Costello told police he grabbed the clipboard to avoid being hit with it, but he did not push the man. He claimed the man fell. An arrest warrant was issued.

On Nov. 5, Costello was delivering political signs in Southwest Colorado. He was being followed by the FBI while driving eastbound on U.S. Highway 160, according to an arrest report from the Bayfield Marshal’s Office.

“The Mercedes was not stopping and was starting to speed up,” the report says.

A deputy from the Marshal’s Office caught up to the pursuit and activated his lights. Costello pulled over, and he was arrested on three active warrants. The vehicle was impounded and Costello was taken to jail on suspicion of kidnapping and sexual assault.

He was being held on $200,000 bail.

shane@durangoherald.com