For Immediate Release - March 08, 2007

Merrimac Man Arraigned On Rape Charge

Lahcen Malhi, 39, of 1A Gunnison Drive, Merrimac, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Newburyport District Court to two counts of rape, and two counts of threatening to commit a crime.

Malhi was arrested at the Haverhill Police Station the evening of Saturday, March 3, as the result of an investigation conducted by Merrimac Police Sgt. Eric Shears and Massachusetts State Police Officer Robert LaBarge. Malhi was questioned at that location to utilize the station's interview room.

Judge Peter Doyle set bail at $20,000 cash, which the defendant posted, and continued the case until March 26 for a probable cause hearing.

Malhi allegedly raped a woman known to him in January and March of this year at his former residence, a condominium complex at 19 Broad Street in Merrimac.

The charge of rape carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in state prison.

Malhi was represented at arraignment by Attorney Jamie Roche for bail purposes only. He will obtain private counsel. The Commonwealth was represented by Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate Hartigan.