CROWN POINT — A man with a decades-long history of sexual violence faces new charges in the sexual assault of a woman in East Chicago, during which he held a knife to her throat.

Harold G. France, 61, of East Chicago, was charged Wednesday in Lake Criminal Court with rape, criminal confinement and intimidation.

France was wanted by police Thursday, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. 

The woman told police France invited her into his apartment Oct. 12 after they passed in the hall of their building in East Chicago, according to court records. 

When she entered the apartment, France allegedly grabbed her hair, threw her to the ground and put a kitchen knife to her throat, records state. 

France sexually assaulted the woman, and then allegedly told her afterward, "I've known you for a hundred years and I've always loved you." 

France has been charged in five sexual assaults since 1972, most recently in 2014, court records state. 

France was first charged at age 15 with carrying a pistol and assault and battery with intent to gratify sexual desires in October 1972. 

He pleaded guilty in May 1973 to carrying a pistol and a lesser battery offense. He was sentenced to one year in jail.

In April 1974, France was charged with rape and robbery. He tried to file an insanity plea, but a court-appointed doctor determined he was competent to stand trial.

He pleaded guilty to the rape charge in February 1975, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. 

In May 1982, France was again charged with rape, but charges were dismissed after the victim declined to cooperate. 

He was found guilty of dealing cocaine in 1988 and sentenced to 40 years in prison. He was paroled in 2009, and charged in two sexual assaults in 2014.

He allegedly raped and choked a woman July 14, 2013, in an abandoned home in East Chicago, court records state. 

On April 13, 2014, France allegedly forced a man to perform oral sex on him at the Jefferson Hotel, 415 Sibley St., in Hammond, records state. 

The cases stalled for several years in Lake Criminal Court before France accepted a plea deal in February 2017. 

France pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal confinement, convictions which did not require him to register as a sex offender, and was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison, time he served in jail awaiting trial. 

He was released from custody Feb. 8, 2017, records state. 

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said Thursday he was uncertain why France was offered the plea bargain, but said he would investigate. 

He said deputy prosecutors are told not to plea down sex offenses, but in some cases the evidence is so tenuous such a deal is necessary to secure a conviction. 

"We always want to get them registered" as sex offenders, Carter said. 

France's bond on the new charges is $80,000.

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