MERRIMAC — A local man was arrested Monday night and charged with invading the Hillside Avenue home of a 74-year-old woman and sexually assaulting her July 3.

William S. Raia, 50, faces four counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, home invasion, strangulation, and assault and battery causing bodily injury on an elderly person, according to Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett. 

Raia was apprehended at his Merrimac home, nearly three weeks after he reportedly threatened the woman with a knife and repeatedly sexually assaulted her, Shears and Blodgett said in a joint statement.

Raia is expected to be arraigned in Newburyport District Court on Tuesday.  

Merrimac police responded to the Hillside Avenue residence about 11:10 p.m. after the woman reported she was awakened by a man in her bedroom.

The woman fled to a nearby home and called police. She was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for medical treatment but later released.

Shears praised the work of investigators and thanked town residents.

“While the suspect is in custody, this remains an active investigation," he said in the statement. "The entire team at the Merrimac Police Department worked diligently on this investigation since it was reported.

"I’m grateful for them as well as for the assistance of the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab and the Essex State Police Detective Unit,”  Shears added. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience of our community as we worked to identify and arrest the suspect.” 

Trending Video

Recommended for you