Criminal Justice

Genetic genealogy leads to arrest of lawyer in series of rapes

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Photo illustration by Brenan Sharp/ABA Journal/Shutterstock.

A corporate lawyer in the New York City area has been charged with the sexual assaults of four women in Boston in 2007 and 2008 after police used genetic genealogy to link him to the crimes.

Police arrested Matthew Nilo, 35, at his home in Weehawken, New Jersey, on Tuesday, report the Boston Herald, WCVB and the Insurance Journal.

Police said they found Nilo through genetic genealogy, in which a suspect’s DNA is uploaded to a genealogy database that identifies the suspect through family connections.

Nilo most recently worked at cyber insurance provider Cowbell, which said it has suspended Nilo pending further investigation, according to WCVB. The company said it hired Nilo in January after he passed a background check.

Nilo’s LinkedIn profile identifies him as a “cyber claims counsel” for Cowbell. His online profile with the New York court system says he is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law. The law school confirmed he graduated in 2015. He was admitted as a New York lawyer in 2019.

Before joining Cowbell, Nilo worked at Atheria Law in New York City and Clyde & Co. in San Francisco, the LinkedIn profile says. The Insurance Journal called the companies to verify employment but didn’t hear back before it published its story.

Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox told the Insurance Journal that Nilo may have been a college student at the time of the crimes. His LinkedIn profile says he graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2010 with a psychology degree.

Nilo is charged with three counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of assault with attempt to rape, and one count of indecent assault and battery.

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