A third victim in just one week has come forward to identify Peter Pearson as her assailant in a rape case dating back to 2005. The facts follow a pattern similar to what has been alleged in the first two incidents. Pearson pretended he was a police officer, solicited a prostitute, kidnapped her and forced her to perform oral sex acts on him. On at least two occasions women have alleged that Pearson brandished a firearm. Pearson flashed a badge and a large police flashlight during one of these incidents. He told the victims that he was an undercover state trooper. Pearson was arraigned on an initial set of charges last Tuesday and a second set yesterday. Some of the crimes are said to have taken place as far back as five years. Brockton police have stated that no less than ten other women have made similar accusations against Pearson. All of the victims in these cases have worked as prostitutes in the past. The first victim said the rape occurred in July. The second said it happened sometime in 2003. The third dates the acts back to 2005. The second and third accusers came forward after seeing Pearson’s picture in the news.
Pearson is being held without bail pending a hearing on dangerousness scheduled for tomorrow. Dangerousness hearings in Massachusetts were established by G.L. c. 276 sec. 58A. By law, people are held in custody pending the hearing on dangerousness. This statute requires that a hearing be held immediately. The defense if it elects may continue the case for up to seven days. Typically continuances for dangerousness hearings are requested by the defense when time is needed to round up witnesses and records that will support a request for release from custody. The prosecution is permitted to request a continuance for up to three days. A judge cannot release a defendant pending a dangerousness hearing if the prosecution demonstrates that there was probable to arrest the defendant.
The strength of the government’s case will be a determining factor in the judge’s decision to release or detain Pearson. Pearson’s attorney stated that widespread news coverage prompted the second two accusers to come forward and make false accusations. What was not mentioned in court was whether the second and third accusers reported the crimes to the police after they occurred or if these are their first complaints as to these crimes.
Rape is a violent crime. It is punishable by up to life in prison. If this case is tried it will be done so in the Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton. Juries in Plymouth County can be quite diverse. Residents from the City of Brockton or the Town of Hingham can be members of Plymouth County juries. Hiring a lawyer who understands these juries is critical if you are going to try your case.
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