NEWBURYPORT – A judge ordered a local man held without bail Tuesday after his arraignment on three counts of rape. 

Police arrested Brian E. Rossi, 39, on Monday at his Broad Street home and charged him with assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime. He is charged with raping an acquaintance at least three times since October. 

At Rossi's arraignment in Newburyport District Court, Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte filed a motion to hold him without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. That hearing would determine if he presents a danger to the alleged victim if he is released from custody while awaiting trial.  

Rossi's court-appointed attorney agreed that Belmonte had established enough probable cause to file the motion. 

Judge Allan Swan swiftly granted the motion and ordered Rossi held without bail pending a hearing Jan. 13. 

Because of the seriousness of the charges, Swan also scheduled a probable cause hearing for Feb. 7 to determine whether Rossi's case will be moved to Superior Court. By that time, Rossi could be indicted by a Salem Superior Court grand jury and arraigned in the higher court. 

The victim and her attorney went to the Newburyport Police Department on Monday and told officers what Rossi had done to her, according to a police report. She told Detective Dani Sinclair that in addition to raping her several times, Rossi often beat her and threatened to kill her.  

"(He) has told her he will 'slit her throat,'" Sinclair wrote in her report, adding that Rossi called her eight times during the interview with police. 

Upon completion of the interview, police went to Rossi's home and arrested him without incident. Rossi denied the charges, telling police that their sex was consensual.

"Brian was upset and stated that he has never raped (the victim) and that was ridiculous," Sinclair wrote in her report. 

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

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