Rape charges filed against former Boston University hockey player Max Nicastro were dropped today by Suffolk County prosecutors who wrote in court papers they were not able to prove the case against the star defenseman.
Nicastro, 21, was arrested by Boston University police on Feb. 19 after a woman alleged he had sexually assaulted her earlier that morning, the Globe has reported. The details of the allegations—such as where the alleged crime took place and when—were never publicly disclosed by officials.
Today, Nicastro and defense attorney Hugh R. Curran appeared in Brighton Municipal Court where Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office filed a statement notifying the court that prosecutors have ended the case against Nicastro.
“The Commonwealth states that it has met with the complainant in this case, and she maintains that her initial allegations against the defendant are true,’’ Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Gloirann Moroney wrote in the court papers.
“Based on a thorough review of all of the evidence in the case, however, the Commonwealth has concluded that the evidence will not permit the Commonwealth to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. For that reason, the Commonwealth will not pursue the case further,’’ Moroney wrote.
Prosecutors filed what attorneys call a “nol pros’’ statement, which is the modern form of the Latin phrase nolle prosequi. Such statements are filed in criminal cases when prosecutors conclude they cannot prove their case – as Suffolk prosecutors said today in the Nicastro case – or if they believe the person is actually innocent.
In a telephone interview today, Curran said that when Nicastro was arraigned in February, he told reporters that no crime was committed, and that he was confident once a more comprehensive investigation was conducted, that law enforcement would reach the same conclusion—and Nicastro would be exonerated.
Today’s action by Suffolk prosecutors, he said, vindicates that point of view.
Prosecutors “conducted an extensive and intensive investigation over the past four months,’’ he said. “They’ve interviewed numerous witnesses, including the complaining witness, and have reviewed all the evidence in the case. They have reached a conclusion—they have determined to nol pros the case, to terminate the prosecution and to decline to prosecute.’’
He added, “My client has always maintained his innocence from the beginning. Our position is that there was no crime committed and our client is innocent.’’
After his arrest, Boston University said Nicastro was no longer a student at the school, but would not say whether he voluntarily withdrew or was forced out of the school.
Curran said Nicastro has kept in shape since both his academic and athletic career was interrupted by the arrest, but his priority is to complete his education.
“The most important aspect of his life going forward is obtaining his college degree,’’ Curran said. “Like any athlete he has been staying in shape. But hockey is secondary, and has been secondary, to what has been taking place in his life. His education has always been the primary focus.’’John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com.