BYFIELD – A local man charged with raping a child is out on bail and likely to be indicted by a Salem Superior Court grand jury in the coming weeks, according to an Essex County prosecutor.

William Prescott, 64, was arraigned Jan. 15 in Newburyport District Court on charges of child rape and six counts of indecent assault and battery of a person under 14. A grand jury indictment would move the case to Superior Court.

At his arraignment, Prescott was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail. After posting bail, he must abide by conditions imposed by the court, including having no contact with the child, not having any unsupervised contact with anyone under 18 and not committing any new offenses.

On Wednesday, Prescott walked into District Court with his recently hired lawyer for a pretrial hearing. 

During the brief hearing, a prosecutor told Judge Allen Swan that a Superior Court assistant district attorney was assigned to Prescott’s case and would likely be seeking an indictment. 

Swan, the same judge who ordered Prescott held on $50,000 cash bail in January, scheduled a status hearing for April 1. By that time, Prescott is expected to be indicted. 

At Prescott’s arraignment last month, his former attorney told Swan that his client denied touching the girl, adding that Prescott was looking forward to resolving the charges and “getting on with his life.”

The alleged offenses took place at Prescott’s Byfield home over several months, according to a police report. The girl and Prescott are acquainted with each other.

Days before Prescott’s arrest, Newbury police were alerted when the girl and her mother went to the police station. Three days later, the child and her mother spoke to a team of police investigators at the Essex County Children’s Advocacy Center in Lawrence.

The girl told investigators that the man she called “Grumpy” touched her inappropriately multiple times while she was visiting her father’s home. She told them the first incident took place six months earlier, according to Newbury police Sgt. Patty Fisher’s report.

The most recent alleged incident took place days before his arrest, also at her father’s home. The girl began telling relatives about Prescott’s alleged behavior about Christmas, according to Fisher’s report.

Prescott was interviewed at the Newbury police station and told Fisher and Detective Aaron Wojtkowski the accusations against him were “unfounded.”

He blamed the girl’s mother. Prescott also told officers he was afraid a day would come when he would be subjected to a “false accusation of this nature,” Fisher wrote in her report.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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