Rapalo was awaiting trial after being arrested in 2003. He was charged with raping seven people, ages 11 to 79, and attempting to attack four others. If convicted, he could get life in prison.

He climbed through a vent in the 7-foot ceiling of his single-man cell on the sixth floor and made it to the roof on that level, jail spokeswoman Janelle Hall said. The building has roofs at different levels, and Rapalo used sheets to climb down each one, authorities said.

The vent was supposed to be locked, but its door had been pried off. Bars blocking the vent's opening to the roof were cut, officials said.

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