NEWBURYPORT – A local man charged with raping an acquaintance was ruled dangerous to his alleged victim Thursday afternoon and ordered held without bail for at least 120 days.
Brian Rossi, 39, was arrested Jan. 6 at his Broad Street home and charged with three counts of rape, assault and battery, and threatening to commit a crime. He was arraigned hours later in Newburyport District Court.
The ruling Thursday was handed down by Judge William Martin following an hourlong dangerousness hearing.
Because of the seriousness of the charges, a probable cause hearing was scheduled for Feb. 7 to determine if the case will be moved to Salem Superior Court. By that time, Rossi could be indicted by a Superior Court grand jury and arraigned in the higher court.
The hearing Thursday included testimony from the alleged victim, who told Martin that she had known Rossi for several years. She also said Rossi was arrested by Concord police in 2016 for strangling and beating her. Rossi was later cleared of those charges after the case was dropped.
She later testified that Rossi forced her to have sex with him on three occasions.
“He would not take no for an answer,” the woman told the court.
Essex County prosecutor Michelle Belmonte said the woman “suffered an immense amount of violence” at the hands of Rossi and there are no conditions of release that would ensure her safety.
Rossi’s attorney argued the woman was embellishing her testimony in an attempt to keep Rossi behind bars and that her own behavior was questionable. He hoped Martin would allow Rossi to wear a GPS tracking device and abide by other conditions of release while awaiting trial.
Instead, Martin quickly ruled in favor of Belmonte.
The woman’s lawyer, Nicole Reilly, had gone to the Newburyport Police Department with the woman shortly before Rossi’s arrest and filed a complaint with officers. The woman 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 the woman eight times during the interview with police.
When the interview was done, police went to Rossi’s home and arrested him. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @drogers41008.