William S. Raia Charged With Rape, Home Invasion
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Massachusetts Man Charged with Home Invasion and Rape of 74-Year-Old Woman

Police sketch of suspect in Merrimack home invasion and sexual assault case.

Police sketch of suspect in Merrimac home invasion and sexual assault case.

A 50-year-old Massachusetts man was arrested Monday evening and a charged with a slew of felonies in connection with a home invasion and sexual assault perpetrated against a 74-year-old woman earlier this month.

William S. Raia was taken into custody in his Merrimac home by a task force consisting of both state and local police, multiple local news outlets reported.

Raia was charged with four counts of Aggravated Rape, Kidnapping, Home Invasion, Strangulation, and Assault and Battery causing Bodily Injury on an elderly person, per the Merrimac Police Department.

According to the multiple reports, Raia is accused of breaking into the elderly victim’s Hillside Avenue home at around 11:10 p.m. on July 3. Armed with a knife, he allegedly woke the woman up, threatened to kill her, and then sexually assaulted her multiple times. At some point during the horrifying ordeal, the woman was able to break free and escape to a neighbor’s home where she called the police.

The victim was reportedly taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was treated and completed a series of tests before being released. She worked with Lincoln Police Detective Ian Spencer to create a sketch of the suspect (see above), which helped lead police to Raia, Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said.

“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 and DA Blodgett said in a joint press release Monday evening. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience of our community as we worked to identify and arrest the suspect.”

The original sketch of the suspect released by police described the assailant as being a thin, approximately 40-year-old white male with short brown hair, “a light complexion with a seasonal tan,” standing 5’5″ to 5’6.”

Raia is expected to be arraigned in Newburyport District Court on Tuesday. It’s unclear if he has an attorney at this time.

The Merrimac Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to email inquires from Law&Crime.

[image via Merrimac Police]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.