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Defendants in UMass gang rape case, free on bail, plead not guilty in Hampshire Superior Court

  • Emmanuel Bile, left, awaits his arraignment Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Justin King leaves the courtroom after his arraignment Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Emmanuel Bile, from left, Caleb Womack and Adam Liccardi leave the courtroom after their arraignments Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Caleb Womack, center, leaves the courtroom Monday after his arraignment in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Caleb Womack, far left, Emmanuel Bile, second from left, and Adam Liccardi, second from right, stand with their attorneys during their arraignments Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Justin King, left, enters the courtroom for his arraignment Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Justin King awaits his arraignment Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Justin King listens during his arraignment Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.
  • Justin King, left, listens during his arraignment Monday in Hampshire Superior Court.

Adam Liccardi, Justin King and Emmanuel Bile, all 18 and from Pittsfield, and Caleb Womack, 17, of Windsor Locks, Conn., each pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated rape.

Liccardi pleaded not guilty to an additional charge of rape for allegedly returning to the 18-year-old woman’s room and raping her again after the other three suspects left.

None of the suspects in the alleged Oct. 13 attack is a UMass student, according to the university.

All four are free on bail amounts set previously in Eastern Hampshire District Court.

Bail was initially set at $10,000 cash for each of the defendants. Liccardi and Bile had their bails reduced to $2,500 and $3,500, respectively. Bail for King and Womack remained at $10,000.

All four are due back in court March 19, 2013, for pre-trial hearings.

According to court records, the defendants arrived at the UMass campus, uninvited by the alleged victim, and bypassed dorm security to gain access to her room while she was away.

When she returned, she agreed to “socialize” with the defendants and two other female friends, drinking vodka and smoking marijuana with them, according to court files.

Later, when the alleged victim was alone with the defendants, one of them turned out the light and the four allegedly attacked her, forcibly removed her clothes and took turns raping her for hours while she faded in and out of consciousness.

During the alleged assault, the victim used the words “no” and “stop,” according to Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, who is prosecuting all four cases.

The next day, the woman allegedly asked the defendants for $500 to ensure her silence. Suhl said that request was not an attempt at extortion, but a ruse to convince the suspects she would remain silent while she was in the process of contacting authorities.

Meanwhile, UMass said it plans on hiring an outside consultant to review its residence hall security procedures. That consultant will “identify the strengths and any shortcomings of our current system,” UMass Police Chief John K. Horvath said in a statement. “An independent set of eyes will serve us well.”

Horvath said he expects the consultant to be hired during the spring semester. Proposals are being accepted until Dec. 21 and finalists are expected to be selected by Jan. 7, according to the university.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com .

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