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Local News

January 25, 2013

Trial set in June for Salem officer charged with rape

SALEM — A Salem police lieutenant charged with raping a family friend is scheduled to stand trial in June.

Lt. Matthew Desmond, 41, was arrested last summer after the woman, who was at his home while her child and Desmond’s children played in a pool, went to police and said Desmond had sexually assaulted her. The woman told police that in Desmond’s home, he reached under her dress and between her legs.

Desmond, through his attorney, Thomas Drechsler, denies the sexual assault allegations, saying that whatever happened on the afternoon of June 20 was consensual.

Yesterday, Drechsler and prosecutor Kate MacDougall asked a Salem Superior Court judge to schedule the trial for June 4.

It appears from court documents and the schedule that Desmond’s lawyer does not intend to argue any motions in the case prior to then, such as a motion to suppress statements that Desmond made to fellow officers or to dismiss the case.

Many sexual assault cases are also delayed while defense attorneys seek access to a victim’s counseling or treatment records. It’s relatively rare for a rape case to be tried within a year of the alleged offense.

Desmond, a 15-year veteran of the department, was placed on unpaid administrative leave from his position following his indictment.

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