Amanda Wilson of Belchertown pleads not guilty to charges of raping 13-year-old boy
NORTHAMPTON — A Belchertown woman pleaded not guilty Wednesday to four counts of rape and abuse of a child aggravated by age difference, allegedly involving a 13-year-old boy.
Amanda Wilson, 27, arraigned on the charges in Hampshire Superior Court, was released on her own recognizance, provided she have no contact with and stay away from the alleged victim, have no unsupervised contact, work or volunteering with children under 16, and report once a week to probation.
Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Carrie Russell had asked Judge Mary-Lou Rup to consider adding a requirement that Wilson submit to electronic monitoring through a GPS tracker.
Wilson’s attorney, Jonah Goldsmith of the Committee for Public Counsel Services objected, saying Wilson lost her job in the wake of the allegations, and has no reliable source of income and would not be able to afford the installation and maintenance of the phone line at her home, which the GPS system requires.
Goldsmith argued that making the GPS a requirement of release would essentially put his client in jail while she awaits trial.
Goldsmith said Wilson is no flight risk, and only missed her first arraignment date because she never received the summons issued to her.
Goldsmith said she didn’t receive the second summons for Wednesday’s court date either, but came of her own accord after learning of the court date on her own.
“If she wanted to run, she could have,” Goldsmith said.
Her ties to the community and lack of criminal record also gave weight to the argument against the GPS requirement, Goldsmith said.
Russell argued the potential life sentence Wilson faces if convicted was reason enough for the electronic monitoring.
Rup disagreed, adding the probation requirement instead.
According to court papers, the Department of Children and Families in May 2011 was investigating a report of abuse from Amherst Regional High School that claimed several students were left home unsupervised for an extended period of time.
Allegations came to light during that investigation that Wilson, 26 at the time, had been sexually active with several young males, including the alleged victim.
During police interviews, the alleged victim told investigators that Wilson was a family friend whom he had known since he was 10, and the sex would happen when his mother was away at work or visiting relatives.
Wilson at first denied having sex with the alleged victim, but in a subsequent police interview admitted to having sex with him at least five times between April and May 2011, while the boy’s parents were out of the country, according to court papers.
She is due back in court June 3 for a pre-trial hearing.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.