Man wrongly convicted of rape who served 30 years faces new rape charges

LAWRENCE, Mass. — A man who was convicted of rape and spent 30 years in prison before his conviction was overturned based on now-discredited hair analysis evidence is now facing a new charge of rape, according to Lawrence Police.

Perrot was arraigned Monday morning in Salem Superior Court on charges of rape, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and open and gross lewdness.

But this new case isn't exactly cut-and-dried, either, according to one professional defense attorney.

"You can't say whether he's guilty or innocent of this charge," said Peter Elikann, a criminal defense attorney from Boston. "It's only an accused citizen."

Perrot spent some 30 years in prison for raping an elderly Springfield woman in the 1980s. At the time, Perrot was 17.

"It was real strange that he got convicted in that case in the first place," Elikann said.

Obvious evidence, including the rapist's appearance, should have eliminated Perrot as a suspect.

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"It was an extremely unfair trial," Elikann added. "They didn't have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt."

Perrot maintained his innocence and, over the decades of his incarceration, attempted to get a new trial three times.

Twenty-four years after Perrot was convicted of that Springfield rape, he got a break. For the first time, an organization dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions agreed to review his case. That organization, The Schuster Institute, is based at nearby Brandeis University.

In 2016, a judge overturned Perrot's conviction based on flawed FBI testimony about microscopic hair evidence.

But now, Perrot faces a new legal challenge.

Lawrence Police say that in January they found him in a compromising position with a semi-naked, unconscious woman on a sidewalk.

Perrot, now 51, was allegedly also found unconscious, on top of the woman and "charged at the police officer" when he was woken up and was "combative" when he was booked, according to the Essex District Attorney's Office.

The woman was revived with Narcan and told police she was offered drugs, did not remember anything and did not consent to sexual contact, a statement from the DA's office said.

"The police said that they were so intoxicated to the point of incoherence, where they were almost out of it," Elikann said. "That always makes a case that much harder to prove either way."

Perrot was indicted on March 25 and has been held without bail since his Jan. 7 arraignment, the DA's office said.

Perrot is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing set for June 10.