MERRIMAC — A local man has been arrested in connection with the July 3 home invasion and sexual assault of a 74-year-old woman, according to Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
WILLIAM S RAIA, 50, was arrested at his home in Merrimac this evening by Merrimac Police, Essex State Police, and the Mass State Police STOP Team. He is charged with four counts of Aggravated Rape, Kidnapping, Home Invasion, Strangulation and Assault & Battery causing Bodily Injury on an elderly person.
He is expected to be arraigned in Newburyport District Court tomorrow.
“While the suspect is in custody, this remains an active investigation. The entire team at the Merrimac Police Department worked diligently on this investigation since it was reported. I’m grateful for them as well as for the assistance of the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab and the Essex State Police Detective Unit,” Chief Shears said. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience of our community as we worked to identify and arrest the suspect.”
On July 3, at approximately 11:10 p.m., Merrimac Police responded to Hillside Avenue for a reported woman in distress. The woman reported that she was awakened by a man in her bedroom armed with a knife. He threatened her with the knife and repeatedly assaulted her. At some point, she was able to flee to a nearby home and call police. She was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was treated and released.
These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.