Merrimac man charged with rape, kidnapping of 74-year-old woman

MERRIMAC, Mass. — NOTE: This story contains details of sexual assault that may be upsetting to some people. Reader discretion is advised.

A 50-year-old Merrimac man is facing multiple charges, including aggravated rape and kidnapping, in connection to a home invasion and sexual assault of a 74-year-old woman in the town, local police and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday night.

That suspect, identified as William S. Raia, was also charged with home invasion and strangulation, as well as assault and battery causing bodily injury to an elderly person. Those alleged crimes stem from a call police responded to on Hillside Avenue just before 11:15 p.m. on July 3.

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Police say that the victim claims she awoke to a man in her room armed with a knife. She was then repeatedly sexually assaulted after he threatened her at knifepoint.

That victim was able to flee before calling police at a nearby home. She was later transported to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment.

“While the suspect is in custody, this remains an active investigation,” said Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears in a release Monday.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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