Man convicted of raping two Somerville women committed as sexually dangerous

A man who was convicted of raping two women in Somerville four decades ago now faces a potential lifetime commitment under the state’s Sexually Dangerous Person laws, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office and the Somerville Journal.

On Friday, a Suffolk Superior Court Judge sent John J. Kelleher, 59, to the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater for a period of one day to life after an assistant district attorney proved he was “likely to engage in further sexual offenses if not confined to a secure facility,” according to the DA’s office.

The decision came after Assistant District Attorney Barbara Young introduced his history of sexual offenses at a five-day jury-waived trial last month. That history includes the 1971 knifepoint rape of two young women in Somerville and the attempted rape of a young woman on Thomson Island in 1987, in which he stabbed the victim in the face with a fork.

Kelleher attacked each of the women, who were strangers to him, in their homes while they were sleeping, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Young also introduced testimony from an expert witness who opined that Kelleher was likely to commit additional sexual offenses based on his “history of substance abuse, his extensive and diverse history of violent crime, his selection of strangers as victims, and apparent inability to control his sexual impulses,” according to the District Attorney’s office.

Kelleher had most recently been convicted of a third count of drunken driving in 2009, and upon his release from jail was held on temporary order of commitment pending these proceedings.