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Salem police lieutenant arraigned on rape charge

Posted by Ryan Mooney  July 3, 2012 04:55 PM

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A Salem police lieutenant was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on a rape charge at Salem District Court in connection with alleged incident that occurred on June 20.

Lt. Matthew Desmond, 41, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail by Judge Allen Swan. His attorney said he vehemently denied the allegations.

According to the police report, the victim - who is known to Desmond - was watching the defendant's children, her own children and the children of a mutual friend at Desmond's home in Salem while Desmond and his wife were at work.

The victim alleges that Desmond returned home from work, brushed her breast with his hand, and then reached under her dress.

According to the police report, the victim described Desmond "as having an almost mean look to him while this was going on." When she told him to stay away from her, "it was like he snapped and went into panic mode and started saying 'Don't say anything, don't say anything.'"

Desmond vehemently denies the charge, according to his attorney, Thomas Drechsler, and alleges that the victim initiated contact with him months before this allegation was raised.

"My client absolutely denies the allegation," Drechsler said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. "He's looking forward to clearing his name, and we'll let the process sort itself out now."

One man known to both the victim and defendant stated to police that Desmond described the June 20 incident to him as consensual, according to the police report.

The incident was officially reported to police on June 26, and a formal investigation was launched. Desmond turned himself in Tuesday morning immediately upon learning of the charge.

"The Salem Police Department takes any allegation against a member of the department very seriously," Salem Police Chief Paul Tucker said in a statement. "Lt. Desmond has been placed on administrative leave and the matter will now move forward in the court system."

According to Drechsler, the case is out of the jurisdiction of the district court, and must now go before the Essex County Grand Jury. A hearing has been set for August.

Ryan Mooney can be reached at globe.mooney@yahoo.com.

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