Investigators reopened and solved a Minneapolis rape case from seven years ago, leading to a criminal complaint being filed barely a year before the man was to be released from prison for another sexual assault.

Frederick R. Couch, 42, of Minneapolis, was charged Tuesday with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with a March 2014 rape. The charge comes less than 14 months before Couch's scheduled release from prison for sexually assaulting another woman later that same year.

Prosecutors say they were able to file this week's charge thanks to the Minneapolis Police Department Sex Crimes Unit deciding in March 2020 to revisit what had been considered a cold case.

Police relied in part on fingerprints taken from a liquor bottle left at the scene, a home in the 3300 block of N. Newton Avenue. That evidence implicated Couch as the suspect as did DNA evidence collected when the woman underwent a hospital exam soon after the sexual assault, according to the criminal complaint.

What authorities have not disclosed is why, with fingerprint and DNA evidence, Couch was not charged in the March 2014 rape before the sexual assault in November of that year occurred. Both police and the County Attorney's Office have declined to answer questions about both cases.

Couch is now in Faribault Prison and awaiting release in April 2022 for raping a woman he was dating months after committing the first assault in 2014.

A third woman also accused Couch of raping her in 2014, according to court records. No charges have ever been filed in connection with that allegation.

No attorney was immediately available to respond on Couch's behalf to the allegations.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482