A Salem police lieutenant was arraigned Tuesday afternoon on a rape charge at Salem District Court in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred June 20.
Lieutenant Matthew Desmond, 41, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $5,000 cash bail by Judge Allen Swan.
According to a police report, the victim was watching the defendant’s children, her children, and the children of a mutual friend at Desmond’s home in Salem while he and his wife were at work.
The victim asserts that Desmond returned home from work, brushed her breast with his hand, and then reached under her dress.
The victim, according to police, described Desmond “as having an almost mean look to him while this was going on.” When she told him to stay away from her,“it was like he snapped and went into panic mode and started saying, ‘Don’t say anything; don’t say anything.’ ”
Desmond vehemently denies the charge, said his attorney, Thomas Drechsler, and contends that the victim initiated contact with him months before this allegation was raised.
“He’s looking forward to clearing his name, and we’ll let the process sort itself out now,” Drechsler said Tuesday.
One man known to both the victim and defendant told police that Desmond described the incident to him as consensual. The incident was officially reported to police on June 26, and a formal investigation was launched. Desmond turned himself in Tuesday morning after learning of the charge.
“The Salem Police Department takes any allegation against a member of the department very seriously,” Salem Police Chief Paul Tucker said in a statement. “Lieutenant Desmond has been placed on administrative leave, and the matter will now move forward in the court system.”
Drechsler said the case must now go before an Essex County grand jury. A hearing was set for August.