COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A serial rapist has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 7-year-old across multiple states.

Joseph C. Gaines, 42, pleaded guilty in November 2021 to transporting a minor interstate with the intention of sexually abusing the victim, and committing a new offense against a minor as a registered sex offender, according to a release from US Attorney Kenneth Parker in the Southern District of Ohio.

Court documents said through July 2019 into August, Gaines took the child from Ohio to other states in the bunk of his semi truck. While in those other states, Gaines sexually assaulted the child repeatedly and in a variety of ways.

The man had been convicted previously of raping a 13-year-old in 1998 and of kidnapping a married couple and raping the wife, among other crimes. Gaines was on parole when he committed the sexual assaults. He was convicted in Stark County Common Pleas Court in 2005 for the case with the teen.

In 2000, Gaines was convicted in Florida of kidnapping and attempted aggravated assault after approaching a woman on the beach, placing a knife to her throat, and saying, “you’re coming with me,” the media release said.

Gaines’ DNA also linked him to two other rapes. Around the time of the 1998 rape, the defendant approached a 15-year-old on the street in Canton, Ohio, and threatened her with a box cutter before taking her into the woods and raping her. Gaines’ DNA was found in the victim’s underwear.

Additionally, in 2002 a married couple was walking on the beach in Florida when the defendant approached them with a weapon covered by a towel. He forced them to an abandoned building where Gaines raped the wife and forced the husband to watch.

“A multi-decade sentence is warranted for this defendant, whose ongoing actions reveal him to be a true predator,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker in the media release.

“Gaines spent much of the past 20-plus years – other than the times he was incarcerated – perpetrating dangerous sexual assaults,” Parker wrote. “Now, he’ll spend the next 35 years in federal prison. This is the type of incorrigible conduct that prison walls are made for.”