A Lowell Superior Court jury today found Attorney Chris Spring’s client not guilty of assault with intent to rape, indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability, and indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14.
The defendant is a businessman who travels frequently to Massachusetts for work. In September of 2014, he had checked into his normal hotel in Middlesex County and gone to the hotel’s snack shop to buy a bottle of water. There was a maintenance man, who has significant intellectual disabilities, cleaning the snack shop. According to the maintenance man, the defendant asked him for help with the thermostat in his room. When the maintenance man walked into the room, the defendant allegedly pushed him on the bed, unzipped his fly, groped him, and asked him to commit a sex act. The maintenance man said he scrambled to his feet and fled the room. He immediately reported the alleged crime to the front desk clerk and gave a recorded statement to the police the following day.
According to the defendant, the maintenance man was overly eager to assist him in purchasing his bottle of water. The defendant asked him a general question about the hotel’s thermostats in an effort to distract the maintenance man’s attention. Instead, the maintenance man followed the defendant to his room, came inside without being asked, and began to slowly explain how the thermostat worked. The defendant lost his temper and yelled at the maintenance man, who became immediately flustered and ran from the room. The following day, the hotel manager evicted the defendant and the police summonsed him to the station for an interview. The defendant completely denied the maintenance man’s allegations from the beginning of the case and was arrested.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office offered to allow the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser-included offense in district court to avoid being indicted. The defendant refused to plead guilty to any crime, as he was innocent. Accordingly, the DA’s Office presented the case to the grand jury and prosecuted the defendant in superior court, where the crimes are more serious and the penalties are much harsher. Had the defendant been convicted, he almost certainly would have received a lengthy state prison sentence.
At trial, the maintenance man testified. There were countless inconsistencies between his trial testimony and the other statements he had made (including his grand jury testimony, his statement to the police, and his statement to the prosecutor). Attorney Spring highlighted these inconsistencies during his cross-examination of the maintenance man. After the Commonwealth rested, the defendant testified and held up well during cross-examination. Attorney Spring urged the jury not to believe the maintenance man’s testimony, as it was unbelievable, inconsistent, and unsupported by any physical evidence. During his closing argument, Attorney Spring argued the maintenance man had fabricated the allegations because he did not want to get in trouble with his boss for upsetting the defendant in his room. There was testimony at the trial that the maintenance man was very concerned about getting in trouble at work, and his mental health caseworker testified that he had an “impulsive” personality. In the months before the trial, Attorney Spring was able to obtain the maintenance man’s mental health records, over the objection of the Commonwealth, which supported his theory of the case. The maintenance man’s records were presented to the jury.
After almost two years of litigation, the defendant was happy and relieved to have been found not guilty.