TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — A Taunton man suspected of abducting and attempting to rape a woman over the weekend appeared in court Monday on several charges.
A plea of not guilty was entered on behalf of 21-year-old William Perez, who was hidden from view at the request of his lawyer for what were said to be “identification issues.”
The incident happened Saturday afternoon at Mayflower Hill Cemetery. According to police, the 44-year-old victim was about to go for a jog around the perimeter when she was approached by a man near the entrance. He was wearing a backpack with hedge clippers sticking out, police said, and allegedly had a box cutter in hand and told the woman, “You’re coming with me.”
After dragging the woman to a nearby shed, he tried to sexual assault her and punched her in the face when she resisted, according to the police report. He also threatened to bring her deeper into the woods, but then ran off after bystanders arrived at the cemetery and saw what was happening.
The victim was treated at an area hospital and released.
One of the witnesses gave police a phone, saying they saw it fall out of the suspect’s pocket as he fled, the report said. The phone was found to belong to Perez, who police said matched the description of the suspect.
Perez was arrested at his home on Sunday and a witness positively identified him as the suspect, police said. He was charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to commit rape, and kidnapping.
His attorney, Amit Singh, claims police have the wrong man, citing discrepancies in the description of the suspect.
“Looking at the police report, there’s been three descriptions … one says he’s 5 feet 5, one says 5 feet 2,” Singh said Monday.
Perez was ordered held without bail following his arraignment. He’s due back in court May 19.