Bail reduced for UMass rape defendant Emmanuel Bile
In this Monday, Oct. 22, 2012 photo, Emmanuel Bile, 18, of Pittsfield, Mass, appears for arraignment on rape charges in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, Mass. Bile is one of four Pittsfield teens accused of raping a University of Massachusetts student in her Amherst, Mass., dorm room on Oct. 13. The four pleaded not guilty. (AP Photo/Matthew Cavanaugh) Purchase photo reprints »
NORTHAMPTON — A Hampshire Superior Court judge reduced bail Tuesday from $10,000 to $3,500 for one of four teens accused of gang-raping a UMass freshman in her dorm earlier this month, saying that the defendant lacks a criminal record and has family ties to the state.
Emmanuel T. Bile Jr. 18, of Pittsfield, pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape in Eastern Hampshire District Court on Oct. 22 where his original bail was set by Judge Mary Hurley, who described the account by the alleged victim as “horrendous.”
Bile’s attorney, David Pixley of Pittsfield, told Judge Daniel A. Ford in court Tuesday that consent would be an issue in the case.
He said precedent allows a defendant’s level of intoxication to be used as a defense if it can be established he could not determine whether consent was given by the alleged victim.
Pixley said Bile has been cooperative with police throughout their investigation since the attack was reported Oct. 14.
Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl, who is prosecuting the cases against all four defendants, said the state had no objection to the bail reduction.
Suhl had originally agreed with defense attorneys on bails of $2,500, but Hurley set the higher amount at their arraignments, due to the nature of the allegations, the severity of the charges, and the penalties each of the teens faces if convicted.
The rape charges carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, and Suhl said if the cases proceed to the grand jury as expected, each defendant would likely be indicted on charges of aggravated rape, which can mean up to a life sentence.
Last week, Ford denied a reduction in bail for co-defendant Caleb Womack, 17.
Suhl said the state asked that Womack’s bail remain at $10,000, due to his lack of ties to Massachusetts and uncertainty that the Probation Department would be able to keep track of him if he were released and joined his family in Connecticut.
Bile has strong family ties to the Pittsfield area, where his parents live, and Pixley said they will be able to monitor his whereabouts and can bring him to and from required meetings with probation.
Ford agreed that, if released, Bile can keep his probation appointments in the Berkshire County court system, unless he needs to be seen in Hampshire County. Pixley agreed to that condition.
If Bile and the other defendants post bail they must remain in Massachusetts, surrender their passports, stay away from the alleged victim and any potential witnesses, stay out of the towns of Amherst, Great Barrington and New Marlborough, submit to GPS monitoring, observe a curfew, report to probation at least twice a week, avoid drugs and alcohol and submit to random screenings.
Bile, along with co-defendants Womack and Justin King, 18, faces three counts of rape.
The remaining suspect, Adam Liccardi, 18, faces a fourth count for allegedly continuing to rape the victim after the other three had left her room.
According to information Suhl presented in court at the teens’ arraignments and at Womack’s bail hearing, the four, none of whom is a UMass student, arrived at campus against the wishes of the alleged victim.
According to UMass officials, who are reviewing campus security procedures as a result of the charges, three of the four men were signed into the building by a student who did not know them. The fourth allegedly passed security without signing in.
When the alleged victim returned, she agreed to “socialize” with the group, Suhl said, and she, along with the defendants and two other young women, drank vodka while hanging around the dorm room on Oct. 12.
According to Suhl, the two other women left the room at some point, leaving the alleged victim and the four defendants behind. Later that evening, Suhl said, one of the teens shut the lights off and all four stripped the alleged victim, and each raped her multiple times while she faded in and out of consciousness.
Suhl said the woman allegedly cried and used the word “no” during the assaults.
Lawyers for the defendants said at their arraignments that following the alleged rapes, the woman asked the suspects for $500 each to ensure her silence.
Suhl said the request was a ruse by the woman to convince the suspects she would remain quiet while she reported the attack to authorities.
All four suspects are due back in court on Dec. 10 for a pre-trial hearing.