Earlier this week, a Fall River man defended by Attorney Powderly was acquitted by a Fall River Superior Court jury of all counts including rape by force (2x’s), indecent assault and battery on a person who had attained the age of 14, threatening to commit a crime and assault and battery. The week long trial involved testimony from 8 witnesses including multiple DNA experts, a SAIN nurse examiner, first complaint witness, police and civilians. The defendant ,who faced a potential sentence in excess of 50 years in the state prison, walked out the front doors of the courthouse a free man shortly after the jury returned Not Guilty verdicts on each and every count.
The alleged victim first made the claim to her roommate (who was her boyfriend’s sister) after she returned to their apartment in the morning having not come home the previous night. The alleged victim told her roommate she had spent the night at the apartment of her boyfriend’s uncle because she had fled there for safety after being sexually assaulted by the defendant. At trial, the defense was able to elicit testimony establishing that the alleged victim and her boyfriend’s uncle had actually begun a secret intimate relationship in the days leading up to her claim. The theory presented by the defense was that the alleged victim fabricated the rape claim as a cover story to explain why she spent the night alone with her boyfriend’s uncle. The defense highlighted significant inconsistencies in the version of events claimed by the alleged victim as well as the findings of her physical examination conducted by a trained nurse only hours after the alleged rape. Despite claims of a forceful attack including choking, ripping of hair and various other violent physical acts, the detailed examination failed to reveal a single bruise, tear, laceration, scratch, mark or injury consistent with her claim.
Sexual assault cases are particularly complex and require specialized knowledge, experience and training by the successful defense practitioner. This particular case involved significant pre-trial and trial litigation of issues related to the rape shield statute, first complaint testimony, DNA analysis and a SAIN examination.