Man charged with sexually assaulting 2 girls at knifepoint in Exeter, over 30 years ago

Frank Joseph Thies is seen in Washington Superior Court, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022. (WLNE)

EXETER, R.I. (WLNE) — A 66-year-old man charged with sexually assaulting two girls at knifepoint in Exeter more than three decades ago, pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Frank Joseph Thies, of Indiana, was arrested last month after the case went unsolved for 35 years.

Thies was charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of child molestation.

Rhode Island State Police said they believe Thies forced an 11-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl into the woods at knifepoint near one of their homes, where he allegedly assaulted them in 1987.

“Grabbed one of the girls, the 11-year-old, dragged her into the woods, while holding the knife to her throat. He told the 13-year-old girl to accompany them into the woods and he told her, the 13-year-old that he would kill the 11-year-old if she didn’t follow him,” prosecutors said.

Thieves was unknown to the girls, state police added.

“He then proceeded to take him into the woods where he sexually assaulted them,” said prosecutors.

In August, investigators learned the suspect was likely one of three brothers, all whom originally from New York and served in the military.

Thies, with no previous known ties to Rhode Island, had reported to the Naval Justice School in Newport the day prior to the assault.

A discarded sample of Thies’ DNA was obtained, tested, and found to be a match consistent to the description of the suspect.

“The severity of the crime here that this is essentially every parents worst nightmare, and the trauma that he’s caused to these victims, I’m making that request to you to hold him without bail today,” prosecutors added.

He is being held without bail and is expected to appear in court Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Categories: News, Rhode Island