Eagle-eyed true crime fans saw Saratoga Springs and its police department in the national news during Friday night’s airing of Dateline, which regularly garners more than four million viewers. The episode, titled “Evil Paid a Visit,” featured retired Saratoga police chief Ed Moore and his department’s crucial role in putting a dangerous rapist behind bars.
The episode told the story of Donna Palomba, a Connecticut mother who survived a brutal rape in her own home in 1993. A possible suspect didn’t surface until 2004, when family friend John Regan was charged with kidnapping and unlawful restraint of a co-worker, an arrest that shocked Palomba and her community. He then took off for the Spa City and in 2005 tried to kidnap a young Saratoga Springs High School student. The student, a cross-country athlete named Lindsey Ferguson, was interviewed in the episode, along with her coaches Ray Harrington and Art Kranick, who followed Regan in a dramatic car chase after the failed kidnapping attempt, until the police arrived.
Regan’s arrest and conviction put him behind bars in New York, where he remains. He could, however, be released later this year, although due to a civil case led by Palomba it is unclear where he would be released. His recent two arrests (he was convicted in the incident with his coworker as well, but served those years concurrently, so he never saw jail time in Connecticut, his home state and where he attacked Palomba) provided the DNA to prove that he was indeed Palomba’s rapist. Maddeningly, the statute of limitations had run out for her rape, which led to her heroically fighting to change the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases via her nonprofit, Jane Doe No More.