Thursday, January 3, 2008

William Dawley - Repeat Sex Offender - Rejects Plea Deal

A convicted sex offender accused of sexually assaulting a minor at knifepoint in the Brewster Street rooming house has rejected a deal to serve six to seven years in prison in exchange for his guilty plea.

Instead, William Dawley, 51, is taking his case to trial and according to superior court documents, will be questioning the alleged victim’s credibility.

Scheduled for a three-day trial beginning Feb. 4, Dawley faces two counts of sexual assault and single counts of criminal restraint, kidnapping, criminal threatening and being a felon in possession of a dangerous weapon.

Police allege that on March 12, 2007, Dawley bought the girl two 40-ounce cans of malt liquor and the pair went to his rent-by-the-week room, where he took out an 11-inch knife with a 6-inch blade, held it to her throat and instructed her to disrobe while he made sexual remarks. He is also alleged to have fondled her breasts while holding the knife at her throat and when she resisted, asked, “Who has the knife?”

Through public defender Stephanie Hausman, Dawley petitioned the superior court for the juvenile’s medical, counseling and juvenile court records, arguing that the typically confidential records provide an assessment of her credibility.

In particular, Hausman’s motion for the alleged victim’s DCYF records tell the court the teen twice alleged she was neglected and in both instances DCYF closed the cases as “unfounded.”

As the only direct witness in the case against Dawley, those cases “speak to her credibility,” according to the motion.

Also, that she “suffered consequences” when the neglect claims were dismissed, is relevant “to her motive to fabricate” the assault allegations, argues Dawley’s lawyer. “Any statements made by (the minor) that are inconsistent with her other statements are relevant.”

The alleged victim’s youth services records may also be useful in her client’s defense, wrote Hausman, because she was on “conditional release” of an unspecified nature and drinking alcohol on the date of the alleged assault would have violated the terms of that release. Also, alleges Dawley’s attorney, if she assaulted him with the knife, indicative by a cut to his hand, that too would have violated terms of her release.

Police detective Mike Schwartz testified during Dawley’s arraignment that the girl was able to “get control of the knife” and during a struggle his right hand was sliced.

The prosecution has filed a witness list including ten local police officers, the victim, two state crime lab employees and a series of city residents.

Dawley was convicted in 1983, at Essex County Superior Court in Salem, Mass., of indecent assault and battery and assault with intent to commit rape.

He remains incarcerated at the Rockingham County House of Corrections on $75,000 cash-only bail.

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