PEABODY — A Peabody business owner is facing rape charges after he allegedly offered a ride home to a woman he knew through a local food pantry, then instead took her to his Lowell Street office and sexually assaulted her last Saturday afternoon.
Ralph S. Poillucci, 64, of 47 Summit St., Salem, pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape at his arraignment Monday in Peabody District Court.
Judge Richard Mori released Poillucci on $5,000 cash bail, with conditions that include a GPS bracelet. He's barred from going near the woman, as well as two local churches and Citizens Inn Haven From Hunger on Wallis Street. He was also ordered to remain in compliance with the Sex Offender Registry Board, the result of prior convictions for open and gross lewdness.
The woman said she regularly had lunch at the food pantry, where she would see Poillucci. She told police she first interacted with him when she was attempting to obtain pills.
On Saturday afternoon, she said Poillucci asked her to "hang out" with him. She declined the invitation, but later that afternoon, she said, she was waiting outside Bill and Bob's on Central Street when Poillucci spotted her and offered her a ride home.
Once inside his Jeep Grand Cherokee, he told her they had to first stop at his business. Poillucci owns an auto body and sign lettering business at 386 Lowell St.
There, he forced her to engage in sexual activity with him, she told police, giving her $60 afterward, telling her "it was so she kept her mouth shut," according to a police report.
Poillucci then took her to the McDonald's on Main Street. Once there, she slipped away with a ruse, telling Poillucci that she was going to fill out a job application, then told a store employee that she needed help. The employee called police. The woman also texted a friend to tell her what had happened.
The woman, who is in her 20s, told police she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.
While police were speaking to the woman in her apartment, a home health aide arrived.
Poillucci was arrested a short time later, after police were able to obtain a warrant.
Court records show that Poillucci was twice convicted in Middlesex County of open and gross lewdness. The first incident, in 1996, occurred while he was driving in heavy traffic on Route 128 in Wakefield, and was seen fondling his genitals by a 10-year-old girl in another car, according to details provided in a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision upholding his 1997 conviction. Poillucci was sentenced to two to 2 1/2 years in prison in 1997, to be followed by five years of probation. However, he was again charged with open and gross lewdness in 2001, leading to the revocation of that probation and another two years in jail. He was also ordered not to drive on Route 128 for 90 days after his release.
A probable cause hearing was set for March 10, but because rape charges are outside the jurisdiction of the district court, the case is expected to be presented to a grand jury for indictment by then.
A call to the executive director of Citizens Inn was not returned prior to Wednesday's Salem News deadline.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.