AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) — Four men have been arraigned on charges that they were involved in the raping a UMass student.
UMass officials say that the alleged attack of the 18-year-old student happened inside her dorm room on the early morning hours of Saturday, October 13.
The university adds that the suspects, who are all from Pittsfield, are not students at UMass.
The suspects, identified by UMass as 18-year-old Emmanuel Bile, 18-year-old Justin King, 18-year-old Adam Liccardi, and 17-year-old Caleb Womack, are allegedly known to the victim.
The suspects were arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown.
Womack, Liccardi, King and Bile are charged with three counts of rape. Liccardi is charged with an additional count of rape. All pleaded not guilty.
During the arraignment Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Suhl said the four men showed up at the dorm despite being told not to by the victim. She adds the victim was in and out of consciousness.
The defense pointed out the victim admitted to drinking in her statement to police. The defense also said the victim sent a text message to Bile Saturday morning saying that if each paid her she would not go to police. Suhl said the victim did do this, but only as a way to keep them from coming after her.
The alleged incident was reported to police on Sunday October 14th.
The Commonwealth had reached agreements with three of the defendant’s attorneys for $2,500 cash bail. However, Judge Mary Hurley balked at the agreement, noting that she had never seen a more “egregious” statement of findings.
After much wrangling in court, Hurley levied bail for each suspect at $10,000 cash or $100,000 personal surety. If they are released on bail, Hurley has issued conditions that they wear GPS monitoring bracelets and be subject to a curfew.
All are due back in court December 10th.
UMass Police immediately began an investigation once they were notified. The four were arrested over the weekend by a team made up of UMass Police, Pittsfield Police, and state troopers assigned to the Berkshire County District Attorney’s office.
“The safety of our students is paramount. Following the incident, we communicated with security personnel and residence hall staff to reiterate current security procedures. In addition, while campus security measures have generally proved effective in the past, the university will conduct a comprehensive review of security in our residencehalls. The campus is providing support to the victim and her family through our well-established resources on campus. In addition, we will redouble our efforts to educate all members of our community about protecting their safety,” says UMass Police Chief John Horvath.
UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, “Maintaining a safe learning and living community is of the utmost importance to our campus. We will not tolerate this violent behavior. The victim and her family are receiving support from our campus resources. I know that I speak on behalf of our university community when I say that they are all in our thoughts during this difficult time.”
The Everywoman’s Center located at the New Africa House on campus serves as the rape crisis team for Hampshire County. The center helps victims of rape, sexual assault and other abuse.
“We are really here to support survivors and their friends and family members, so we believe people when they call us and then we help them figure out their different options,” said Associate Director Rebecca Lockwood.
The center has walk in hours Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They also run a 24-Hour Rape Crisis Hotline – 413-545-0800.