- Essex District Attorney’s Office
Media Contact for Merrimac Man Pleads Guilty to Raping & Kidnapping Elderly Woman
Carrie Kimball, Director of Communications
Merrimac, MA — A 51-year old Merrimac man admitted that he broke into a 74-year old woman’s home and repeatedly raped her last July. Judge Thomas Drechsler sentenced him to 22 years in state prison followed by three years of probation.
William Raia pleaded guilty to Aggravated Kidnapping, Armed Assault in a Dwelling, Aggravated Rape (3 counts), Assault to Rape, Strangulation, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon on a person over 60 (2 counts), Assault & Battery on a person over 60, causing injury and Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime causing Fear. While on probation, Raia was ordered to comply with the Sex Offender Registry Board, seek and complete Substance Abuse and Sex Offender Treatment, and stay away from and have no contact with the victim. He is required to wear a GPS monitoring device for the first year of probation.
Essex Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall requested a 30 to 40-year sentence stating, “Were it not for the victim’s presence of mind and courage, this would have been a homicide. This was a made-for-TV horrifying attack in the night. The victim not only was able to escape, saving her life, but she also was able to direct law enforcement to key evidence that aided in identifying her attacker.”
Had the case gone to trial, ADA MacDougall would have introduced evidence that would have proven that on July 3, 2021, a 74-year old woman was woke up in her Merrimac home to the defendant standing over her. He immediately began to attack her sexually and physically. The defendant made statements that made her believe that he had been watching her for some time and was familiar with her routines. At one point the defendant smoked a cigarette and drank a beer. The victim noted where he left the cigarette butt. When his back was turned, she fled naked out of the house, into the pouring rain, to her neighbor’s house.
Responding officers located the beer can and the cigarette butt, as well as an “old-fashioned” flip phone that was registered to the defendant’s wife. After submitting the rape kit, beer can and cigarette butt to the MSP Crime Lab for analysis, a clear Y (male) profile was found in the rape kit and a complete profile on the beer can. Merrimac Police detectives surveilled the defendant and were able to collect the butt of a cigarette that they observed him smoke. The DNA on that cigarette butt matched the DNA that had already been analyzed.
“This outcome cannot restore the peace of mind that the defendant so callously took from this brave woman,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “I am hopeful that not having to endure a trial and the resolution of the case, will provide her with some peace.”
“This defendant not only committed despicable acts against the victim, he also shattered the sense of security in our entire community,” Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears said. “I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of the Massachusetts State Police detectives, Crime Lab and the Essex DA’s Office along with our entire department in solving this case quickly.”
ADA MacDougall praised the efforts of Merrimac Police Sergeant Steve Ringuette and Detective Steve Beaulieu, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Thomas Sullivan and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab in solving this case. She was also assisted by Essex Victim Advocate Maria Arroyo-Long.