SALEM — A Salem man has been charged with sexually assaulting a former girlfriend who told police she had stopped by his apartment hoping to borrow his car last week.

Vincent Biggin, 32, of 65 Federal St. pleaded not guilty yesterday in Salem District Court to three counts of rape, as well as charges of indecent assault and battery and assault and battery.

Prosecutor Michelle DeCourcey sought a bail of $50,000, citing a graphic police report that described a violent attack that sent the woman to Salem Hospital covered in bruises and with a bite on her chest.

But Judge Michael Lauranzano, who questioned why the prosecutor did not file a request for a dangerousness hearing, denied the high bail and set it at $2,500 cash, an amount Biggin is expected to post.

DeCourcey said the woman told police she was in Salem when her car broke down. She said she walked to Biggin's apartment, hoping to borrow his truck.

While she was at the apartment, Biggin was on the phone with his new girlfriend, who lives in Florida. After the new girlfriend complained about her being there, Biggin got upset, telling the woman she had "(messed) up his life," DeCourcey told the judge. He then sexually and physically assaulted her, the prosecutor said.

Defense lawyer John Morris said his client tells a very different story, suggesting that whatever happened between the two was consensual and that the woman had pursued Biggin with e-mail messages.

Morris suggested the allegation, which wasn't reported to police until the following day, was motivated by anger, because Biggin sent a text message to the woman's new boyfriend.

Biggin, a union carpenter who had been working on the new courthouse on Federal Street, also recently took a firefighter's exam.

It's not clear how Biggin came to be deemed indigent by a probation officer, given his full-time employment on the project.

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