A Bridgewater State University professor who last week pleaded not guilty to raping a student in his office now faces additional charges, including an allegation that he tried to turn a second student into his “personal prostitute,” court filings show.
Nicholas R. Pirelli, 36, described by university officials as a temporary faculty member who teaches communication studies, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to new charges of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, distributing obscene matter, sexual conduct for a fee, and criminal harassment, legal filings show.
Bail was set at $6,000 cash for the new counts with conditions including GPS monitoring and staying off campus, though prosecutors had sought $12,500, according to the Plymouth district attorney’s office. Pirelli’s lawyer declined to comment, and Pirelli didn’t immediately respond to voice and e-mail messages seeking Thursday. Court filings show his father put up surety for bail.
According to a legal filing, two new alleged victims came forward to campus police to flag their interactions with Pirelli following his arrest and arraignment March 5 for allegedly raping a student in October after corresponding with her on an erotic website.
A second student spoke to campus police March 6, telling investigators she began corresponding with Pirelli on the same website in December, the filing says.
At one point during their correspondence, the report alleges, Pirelli told the student he had a “large collection” of sex toys and offered to pay her for sex. The report quotes Pirelli as writing to the student, “When a woman is dominant, I want her to tie me down, choke me, and feel strong enough to put me in chastity if she wants to. I want her to feel like she owns every part of my body and can do whatever she wants to it.”
The woman told police she repeatedly rebuffed Pirelli’s offer of sex for cash and told him she only wanted to earn money through conversation and perhaps images, the report says, adding that Pirelli electronically sent her a total of more than $300 on several occasions between Jan. 19 and Feb. 25.
On Feb. 16, the filing says, Pirelli offered $200 if she met him for dinner, with the caveat that he wanted her to use a sex toy during the meal. The woman told police she was shocked by the offer and began communicating with Pirelli less and less, the report says. Police noted that Pirelli allegedly sent her an unsolicited photo of his erect penis.
“It is clear that Pirelli attempted to recruit [the woman] as his own personal prostitute by enticing her with the promise of money in exchange for sexual acts,” the report says.
Authorities say three other female students at the university have leveled allegations against the professor.
“Each allegation had similar fact patterns, and some are very recent,” the filing says. “One student said that Pirelli appeared to be ‘grooming’ [her] for sexual activities, was scheduled to attend a conference with Pirelli this month in Cape Cod, in which Pirelli told her she could drink underage, and was trying to convince her to spend the night with him if she were to drink.”
The report says another student reported similar behavior by Pirelli, even after she told him to stop communicating with her, an alleged act that prompted the criminal harassment count.
Pirelli’s currently on paid leave from his job. University President Frederick W. Clark Jr. addressed that point in a message to the school community Wednesday.
“I know many of you have expressed disappointment, and perhaps dismay, that Mr. Pirelli is on paid leave during this phase,” Clark wrote. "I completely understand your concerns. As you may or may not know, we are governed by, and we are working through, a detailed process specified in our employee labor contract to expeditiously resolve his employment status at BSU."
Clark described sexual assault as a “national issue” and wrote that the university has worked hard on prevention measures and provides “compassionate support” for victims. He also pointed to resources available for students at the campus Wellness Center.
“We vigorously investigate and hold accountable anyone responsible for acts of sexual assault," Clark said. "I would like to thank the courageous students who have brought information to the BSU Police Department. ... Our highest priority is the safety of our BSU community, and we have absolutely no tolerance for abuse or violence against any members of our campus community.”
Pirelli is due back in court on April 30.