Metro

Wrong man arrested in North End sexual assault, lawyer says

The lawyer for a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in the North End said he is confident that his client will be exonerated after it was disclosed in court Tuesday that the victim identified a different man in a Boston police photo array last month.

Ross Currier, 26, of Boston, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Tuesday afternoon. He pleaded not guilty to charges related to the mid-February assault. Currier was arrested by Boston police Monday night, after the victim saw Currier playing basketball at a North End park and called police to tell them she’d seen her attacker, according to police.

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During the court hearing, Currier’s lawyer, Thomas Merrigan, said that prosecutors had approached him to express misgivings.

“The Commonwealth has indicated to me that they have concerns about this case,” Merrigan told Judge Mark Summerville. Suffolk prosecutors did not challenge Merrigan’s assertion.

“Boston Police continue a very active investigation,” said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office.

According to Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Corke, the victim told police that on Feb. 15, she was about to step into her building when she was accosted from behind by a man, who grabbed her arm and threw her to the ground. The man groped her under her skirt and then took a picture with his cellphone under her skirt, Corke said in court.

The man ran off when the woman screamed, the prosecutor said. The woman was treated at the scene for a cut under her right eye.

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On Feb. 28, the woman was shown a photo array by Boston police detectives and identified her attacker as one of the men in the array, telling investigators that on a scale of 10, the man in the photograph was a nine, the prosecutor said. Corke, however, said in court that the picture the woman chose was a “filler photograph,” and that the man the victim identified as her attacker was behind bars.

On Monday, after the woman called police, officers had her sit in a cruiser to identify the person she said she recognized as her attacker. According to documents, the victim said she was “90 to 95 percent positive” that Currier was the man who assaulted her, then became upset, saying “Yes, that’s him.”

According to Merrigan, Currier told police that he was with his fiancée when the woman was attacked, an alibi confirmed by the fiancée. However, Currier acknowledged that he owned clothing similar to a man seen on surveillance video running from the scene on Feb. 15 when the woman was accosted.

Currier, whom Merrigan said was a “professional person” with no criminal record, must wear a GPS monitoring device and stay away from the victim.

Currier, who was charged with one count of assault and battery and one count of indecent assault and battery, left the courthouse Tuesday without commenting. Merrigan said his client was upset but doing well.

“They have the wrong person,” said Merrigan. “When the evidence is presented I think that will be very clear.”

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @evanmallen. John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.
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