Dayton sex offender who allegedly faked his death, fled US denies he is Nicholas Rossi

Man accused of faking death, fleeing US to avoid prosecution in two Utah rape cases continues to deny he is the man identified in court

A man accused of faking his own death and fleeing the U.S. to avoid rape charges continued to deny he is the man identified in the case during an online court appearance from jail Tuesday.

Nicholas Rossi, 36, a Dayton sex offender, made the appearance after missing two January court dates with no explanation. After Utah 4th District Judge Derek Pullan in Provo cleared jail officials to use reasonable force to get him to show, Rossi made his initial appearance seated behind a green gas tank and wearing an oxygen mask.

Pullan asked Rossi if he had received the charging document accusing him of raping a 21-year-old woman in Orem, Utah, in 2008.

“I’m not Nicholas Rossi, for the record,” he responded in a rasping voice with a British accent. "But I have received the document.”

Rossi. whose legal name is Nicholas Alahverdian, has used several aliases. As a child and a young man, he bounced around the foster care system and has lived in the Dayton area, Rhode Island and Utah. He said he was an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight who never set foot on American soil. He did not elaborate on his identity Tuesday, and Pullan didn’t ask before setting his next court appearance for March 5.

Rossi made similar claims in a court hearing in January. He was extradited to the U.S. from Scotland earlier that month.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Rossi was not identified as a suspect in the Orem rape for about a decade due to a backlog of DNA test kits at the Utah State Crime Lab. He also faces a felony charge in Salt Lake County, where prosecutors allege he raped a 26-year-old former girlfriend after an argument, also in 2008.

He faces multiple other complaints against him in Rhode Island and Ohio for alleged domestic violence, sexual abuse and fraud.

Rossi was forced to register as a sex offender in Ohio after he was convicted of sexual imposition and public indecency about 15 years ago in Dayton Municipal Court.

Rossi engaged in unwanted sexual behaviors with a then 19-year-old victim named Mary Grebinski in a staircase at Sinclair College. Just weeks before this incident, another Sinclair College student accused Rossi of groping her and pleasuring himself at his home in East Dayton.

“I have tried to hold him accountable since 2008 and he has found ways to avoid persecution and continuously create new identities,” Grebinski told the Dayton Daily News in August 2023. “I won’t be satisfied until I see him behind bars for life. … The number of lives and destruction he’s caused us all is finally coming to a resolution.”

The Dayton Daily News does not name sexual assault victims unless the person agrees to be identified.

After he was convicted of abusing Grebinski, Rossi appealed the cases and filed lawsuits against her claiming she damaged his reputation and caused him personal harm. He also claimed that Grebinski had lied about the encounter and what transpired to protect a relationship with her boyfriend.

Authorities said they believe he created a fake Myspace post that was supposed to look like it was authored by Grebinski to back up his version of events.

Grebinski said Rossi created many blogs and gave many excuses for why he was not responsible and he also fabricated evidence to try to trick the courts into believing he was the real victim.

“I would not be surprised if he wrote a book or some kind of short story on how being wrongfully accused is because of him being in a minority group or playing up his ‘disabilities’ in some way,” she told this newspaper.

Rossi often is seen in public using a wheelchair and an oxygen mask, which some observers think is an attempt to gain sympathy.

The American fugitive grew up in foster homes in Rhode Island and had returned to the state before allegedly faking his death and fleeing the country. An obituary published online claimed Rossi died Feb. 29, 2020, of late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Rossi also was under investigation by law enforcement after financial accounts were opened in his foster parent’s name without his knowledge. Rossi lived in Harrison Twp. when this happened.

Authorities and his former foster family doubted his death.

Rossi was arrested in Scotland in 2021 after he was recognized at a Glasgow hospital during treatment for COVID-19. He lost an extradition appeal in the country in December.