Four male teenagers accused of raping a female Umass Amherst freshman in October were indicted on aggravated rape charges by a Hampshire County Grand Jury this week. The defendants could face life sentences if convicted.
The Grand Jury indictments move the cases from the district to superior court level. The defendants are three 18-year-old Pittsfield residents, and one 17-year-old resident of Windsor Locks, Connecticut. All face three counts of aggravated rape, while one, Adam Liccardi of Pittsfield, faces an additional count of rape. The defendants allegedly raped a female UMass freshman in her dorm room after she agreed to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana with them.
Don Frank, a Springfield defense attorney says, if convicted, the defendants could face life sentences in prison, or be registered as level two or three sex offenders.
“Which means that they will be constantly monitored for, perhaps, the rest of their lives, until removed from the sex registry. It is a burden that is very, very heavy, just the sex registration alone.”
Frank says that alcohol complicates the case. He says under Massachusetts law, being drunk is not considered enough to inhibit one’s ability to give consent unless the complainant is drunk to the point of “stupefaction.”
“In this case there’s apparently some indication that she may have been in and out of consciousness, and that might be a problem for the defendants in this case.”
The defendants were also allegedly drunk, but Frank says impaired judgment can’t be used as a defense.
“An honest and reasonable, although mistaken, belief that the complainant consented, is no defense to rape in Massachusetts.”
Three of the four defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in Hampshire Superior Court on Monday.