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Boston defense lawyer Gary Zerola held without bail on new rape charges

Gary Zerola.Boston Police Department

A Boston Municipal Court judge on Thursday ordered repeat accused rapist and criminal defense attorney Gary Zerola held without bail on charges alleging he broke into a woman’s home in the predawn hours of Jan. 12 and sexually assaulted her, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors from the Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins’s office said in a statement that Judge Thomas Horgan ordered Zerola held following a dangerousness hearing. A not guilty plea was entered on Zerola’s behalf at arraignment Jan. 15 on charges of rape and breaking and entering with felony intent.

His lawyer, Joseph F. Krowski Jr., declined to comment Thursday.


The new case stems from allegations that Zerola, 49, of Salem, met the woman at a gathering Jan. 11 and then accompanied her and a mutual acquaintance to her Boston apartment, which he then allegedly returned to in the early morning without her permission.

The woman, prosecutors said, awoke to find Zerola “sexually assaulting her.”

Prosecutors noted that at the time of the encounter, Zerola was out on $10,000 bail for the alleged rape of another woman in 2016, a case that remains pending in Suffolk Superior Court. He pleaded not guilty in that matter.

And, prosecutors said, following his arrest for the alleged rape on Jan. 12, two women came forward to report that Zerola had also raped them in the 1990s.

He was acquitted in 2008 in separate rape and attempted rape cases in Massachusetts and had a sexual assault case dropped in Florida, the Globe has reported.

“The court agreed with our position that Mr. Zerola is a danger to the community,” District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in the statement. “He has a history of rape allegations dating back to 1996. He was out on bail for a separate rape indictment when this most recent attack allegedly occurred. My office will always uphold our commitment to serve survivors of sexual assault with support, referrals for needed services, and vigorous prosecutions to hold perpetrators accountable. We are here for you.”


Rollins’s office quoted from the memorandum that prosecutors filed in Boston Municipal Court in the new case to support the government’s request for pre-trial detention.

“While most of the women did not report the crime immediately to police, and the two victims from the 1990s came forward only after hearing that Zerola was arrested in the present case while already out on bail for a rape indictment, each of them described disclosing the events to someone at the time,” the filing said.

It continued, “The Commonwealth contends that he has drawn on his experience as both a criminal defense attorney and a rape defendant to avoid consequences.”

Zerola, named by People magazine as one of the nation’s most eligible bachelors in 2001, worked for a year as a prosecutor in Essex County and for two months in Suffolk County more than two decades ago, according to Rollins’s office.

Zerola is due back in court in the new case on Feb. 22, prosecutors said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.