A Boston man who was cleared Wednesday of a sexual assault in the North End demanded an apology from authorities, who he said put him and his family through an “extremely difficult” ordeal by charging him with a crime he did not commit.
“Someone needs to take responsibility for the mistakes that were made throughout this entire process,” Ross Currier, 26, said during an evening briefing outside the
Edward W. Brooke Court-
house, where he was arraigned last month.
Surrounded by his fiancee, parents, and about two dozen supporters, Currier faulted what he said was “the lack of due diligence by the police and everyone along the way.”
“This could have been prevented,” he said. “And the fact that no one has come forward to admit their mistakes, to own up to them, and to learn from them, it’s alarming, to be honest.”
Currier spoke hours after Suffolk prosecutors entered a legal filing in his case called a nolle prosequi, which resulted in the termination of the charges of assault and battery and indecent assault and battery that he had been facing stemming from the Feb. 15 incident.
A woman told police she was accosted from behind early that morning outside her North End apartment by a man who threw her to the ground, groped her, and took a picture under her skirt with his cellphone.
Police arrested Currier on March 10 after the woman spotted him in the neighborhood and told officers that she was “90 to 95 percent positive” that he was the man who attacked her, according to court records.
But the woman previously had misidentified another man, who was incarcerated at the time of the assault, in a photo array, and Currier had an alibi, stating that he was home with his fiancee at the time of the attack.
District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said in a statement Wednesday that while prosecutors believe the woman acted in good faith when she identified Currier, investigators later “developed evidence to suggest he was not the assailant.”
That evidence included a review of Currier’s alibi, a forensic investigation of his cellphone and related cell tower location records, as well as scrutiny of a March 16 assault that was similar to the Feb. 15 attack in terms of the circumstances and suspect description, the statement said.
The GPS device Currier was required to wear after being released without bail showed he did not commit the March assault, Conley’s office said.
Speaking during Wednesday night’s briefing, Currier’s lawyer, Thomas Merrigan, reiterated statements he made earlier in the day calling for prosecutors to seek a dismissal of the case with prejudice, rather than to file a nolle prosequi.
A dismissal with prejudice would mean the charges could not be brought again.
Merrigan called a nolle prosequi a “very tepid, ambiguous way” to resolve the case, whereas a dismissal with prejudice would acknowledge that an innocent person had been accused.
Jake Wark, a spokesman for Conley, said that only judges can dismiss cases, whereas a nolle prosequi is what prosecutors use to terminate charges.
Conley, in a follow-up statement, called Merrigan a good man who is “fighting for his client who has been through a difficult ordeal.”
“We hope he recognizes that this office also fought to uncover every piece of evidence that spoke to the truth, and once we did, we moved to drop the case,” Conley said.
“Our filing is a standard legal device that lays out the evidence and makes abundantly clear our belief that Mr. Currier did not commit the acts for which police arrested him.”
Boston police declined to comment on Currier’s demand for an apology.
Wark said arresting officers had “a compelling in-person identification,” adding that Currier “bore a striking resemblance” to the inmate that the woman had previously pointed out in the photo array.
Currier and his lawyer both expressed sympathy Wednesday night for the victim of the Feb. 15 attack.
Currier did not rule out litigation when asked if he was considering bringing legal action against the city.
“I’ll look at all of my options and definitely consider it,” Currier said.
He also responded simply when asked if he felt he could ever fully clear his name.
“Google it,” he said. “See what you find.”