FRAMINGHAM — Residents said they saw him pacing back and forth near the bus stop on Gorman Road around 2 p.m. on April 3. Dressed in dark clothing, the stranger was looking up and down the quiet suburban street. He gave them the creeps, they said. But no one called the police.
Less than an hour later, Nathan P. Williams forced a 15-year-old girl, who had just left a school bus from Keefe Regional Technical School, into a wooded, swampy area and raped her at knifepoint, prosecutor Katelyn Draper said during Williams’s arraignment Tuesday in Framingham District Court. Neighbors said it was a stone’s throw from where the girl lived.
“The child did not know the defendant,” said Draper. “He had brandished a knife to her . . . They walked into what was considered to be a thickly, dense wooded area, where the child was then directed to a secluded spot within that wooded area, where the defendant proceeded to sexually assault the child in a number of different ways.”
Williams, 19, of Framingham, covered his face with a gray T-shirt and ducked out of sight during the hearing. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf on child rape charges and on counts of kidnapping, and indecent assault and battery. Judge Robert Greco ordered him held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing Friday.
Williams was already facing an assault and battery charge from his brother in October, according to the prosecutor and court documents, and had faced a sexual assault charge as a juvenile, Draper said.
The outcome of the juvenile case is sealed. A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney declined to comment on the juvenile charge, and a Department of Youth Services spokeswoman also declined to comment, except to say, “We don’t know this youth.”
Williams’s lawyer, John L. Daly Jr., also declined to comment on the juvenile case. Williams said he is innocent of the current accusations, Daly said.
“My client’s a young man, 19 years old,” said Daly. “He’s pretty shaken up. I’m not going to talk about what my client told me . . . but misidentification is a possibility.”
Williams has attended some college, Daly said, though he was not sure if Williams had a job.
He was arrested around 5 p.m. Monday at Reardon Park. No one answered the door at the Elm Street address in Framingham listed in court documents from the October assault case.
In court Tuesday, the prosecutor laid out the case against Williams. After the rape, investigators found “biological matter” on evidence they collected, and the material matched Williams’s DNA, Draper said. In a search of Williams’s home, police said they found clothing that matched the description of clothes worn by the girl’s attacker.
Neighbors said they were shaken and upset by the rape and disturbed that the victim was attacked in broad daylight. Many know her and described her as a sweet and sociable teen from a good family.
“She’s been here her whole life,” said a neighbor named Dina, who declined to give her last name but said she is a lifelong resident of the neighborhood.
“We look out for each other, as we always do,” she said. “It kind of makes us feel like we weren’t doing our jobs that day.”
Emilio Manzella, 64, said he has known the family for around 10 years and e-mailed them to offer support.
“They expressed that they would like to handle this on their own,” he said. “It’s going to take time for them. They’re not doing really well.”
Neighbors who said they saw the stranger that afternoon said that although he appeared out of place, they did not pay close attention to him.
Coleen Hayes, 35, who lives on Gorman Road, said that she saw the man standing on the corner as she pulled out of her driveway and that she nearly called her husband to tell him to lock the doors.
“I thought, if anything, he was going to rob my house,” she said. “I convinced myself that I was crazy, and I just kept going. In hindsight, I wish I actually did something.”Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.