Police Charge 50-Year-Old Merrimac Man with Home Invasion, Rape of Elderly Woman

(File photograph.)

A 50-year-old Merrimac man was arrested Monday night connection with the July 3 home invasion and sexual assault of a 74-year-old woman.

Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett jointly announced William S. Raia was arrested at his home by Merrimac Police, Essex State Police, and the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations Team. Raia was charged with four counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, home invasion, strangulation and assault and battery causing bodily injury on an elderly person.

“While the suspect is in custody, this remains an active investigation. The entire team at the Merrimac Police Department worked diligently on this investigation since it was reported. I’m grateful for them as well as for the assistance of the Essex District Attorney’s office, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab and the Essex State Police Detective Unit,” Shears said. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience of our community as we worked to identify and arrest the suspect.”

Raia is expected to be arraigned in Newburyport District Court tomorrow (Tuesday).

On July 3, at about 11:10 p.m., Merrimac Police were dispatched to Hillside Avenue for a reported woman in distress. The woman reported she was awakened by a man in her bedroom armed with a knife. He threatened her with the knife and repeatedly assaulted her. At some point, she was able to flee to a nearby home and call police. She was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was treated and released.

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