24-year-old with history of violence accused of rape and imprisonment


A 24-year-old man is accused of tying up and holding a woman against her will at his First Street residence, and then raping her at least twice while she was his prisoner overnight from Saturday to Sunday.

Law enforcers said John N. Santoro — a three-time state prison parolee — bound the woman’s hands and feet and stuffed her in a large duffel bag. He was taken into custody in Utica late Monday after the woman escaped.

Police said Santoro, of 108 First St., was at home when the 28-year-old woman came to visit at about 7 p.m. Saturday, June 9. Police said Santoro and the woman were acquaintances.

"While she was at the house, they began to argue," said Detective Commander Timothy J. Bates.

"During the course of the argument, he threatened her with a knife. He also proceeded to tie her, bind her hands and feet, and placed her in a large duffel bag."

Bates said Santoro used rope to bind the woman before placing her in the duffel bag. He then held her prisoner throughout the night.

During that time, Bates said Santoro twice forcibly raped the woman. Each time, Bates said Santoro would untie her, rape her, and then tie her up again.

"She finally got an opportunity to escape in the morning," Bates said. "He had fallen asleep."

The woman freed herself from her bindings and fled the residence, running to a nearby store to call for help, Bates said. Santoro woke up after she left and fled the residence before officers arrived. Bates said Santoro was tracked to a residence in Utica, and Rome and Utica police took him into custody shortly before midnight on Sunday.

Santoro is charged with two counts of first-degree rape, and one count each of first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree unlawful imprisonment, all felonies, police said. He was held in lockup overnight to await arraignment this morning in City Court.

The victim was treated at a local hospital for her injuries.

Santoro has a history of violence, and according to state records, he is a three-time state prison parolee.

For several years between 2005 and 2008, Santoro served a sentence for third-degree robbery, and was released on parole on Feb. 1, 2008.

Then on April 11, 2009, Santoro attacked an ex-girlfriend at her Rome residence, following weeks of harassing and threatening text messages and phone calls. Authorities said Santoro punched, choked and slapped the 20-year-old woman, even going so far as to close the curtains in the apartment when she tried to look outside.

According to the victim, she was able to escape after convincing Santoro to walk with her to a neighboring apartment. Police said that Santoro continued to inundate the woman, her friends and her family with more threatening text messages and phone calls for several weeks afterwards. He was finally taken into custody on May 4, 2009, and later pleaded guilty in County Court to first-degree contempt. He was sentenced to 1 1/2 to three years in state prison, and severed nearly two years before being release on parole on Oct. 18, 2011.

But then on Oct. 26, barely a week out of prison, authorities said Santoro was taken into custody again after leading law enforcers on a chase and manhunt between Madison and Oneida counties. Authorities said Santoro refused to pull over in the City of Oneida at about 7 a.m. Oct. 26, then led officers across the city line into Oneida County, where his vehicle crashed into a ditch on Sconondoa Street in Vernon. Authorities said Santoro fled into the woods, where he hid for roughly two hours while multiple police agencies brought search dogs in to find him.

Following that arrest, state records indicate that Santoro was returned to state prison on Feb. 9, 2012, to continue his previous sentence. He was finally release when his full sentence was up on April 30.