Suffolk County

Rape victim takes the stand: Trial begins for former Boston prosecutor and defense attorney

BOSTON — The rape trial started on Tuesday for a former prosecutor and defense attorney in Suffolk and Essex counties who was once named People magazine’s top 50 bachelors.

Gary Zerola is accused of raping a 23-year-old woman. He was previously acquitted of similar charges several times before. Now, Zerola is a defendant himself in a courtroom at Suffolk Superior Court where opening statements began.

Zerola, 51, entered a plea of not guilty to two rape charges brought against him by a woman who was in her early 20s at the time.

The alleged victim spent a good part of the day on the stand. The judge in the case set strict rules for the media to protect the woman’s identity.  During her testimony, she describes the scene when she woke up to being sexually assaulted.

According to court documents, she told police that after a night of partying with friends in the North End in 2016, she found herself waking up to Zerola undressing and assaulting her in Zerola’s friend’s apartment.

“This was no stranger. This was also no consent for what Gary Zerola did to her,” said Assistant District Attorney Thomas Brant. 

The victim testified that she and a group of friends were out the night before the alleged assault “They have drinks, they are having fun and they are playing music, taking selfies,” said Brant.

However, Zerola’s attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio says the victim is a liar. “Plain and simple she is a liar. The story you just heard from the Commonwealth doesn’t tell half of what happened,” said Scapicchio.

This is not the first time Zerola has been charged with sexually assaulting women. He first faced allegations of rape in 2008 from two different women but was acquitted on both charges because of insufficient evidence.

If convicted on the two rape charges he is currently on trial for, Zerola could face up to life in prison.

The trial will resume at 9 am Wednesday morning.

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

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