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Springfield brothers face rape charges in Belchertown incident

Michael R. Edwards, 26, of 105 School St., and Robert D. Edwards, 23 of 356 Belmont Ave., each pleaded not guilty to three counts of rape of a child by force and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 before Judge Richard Carey.

According to Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Yvonne Pesce, the charges stem from a 2004 incident in Belchertown.

Because the men were minors when the alleged assaults occurred, but were adults when accusations were brought against them, the case began in juvenile court and was moved to Eastern Hampshire District Court following a transfer hearing in early 2013, Pesce said.

Pesce said the case was transferred out of the juvenile system after a judge determined there was probable cause to continue the case and that doing so serves the public interest.

Pesce declined to provide details of the accusations including the gender of the alleged victim and how old the child was when the assaults began.

Michael and Robert Edwards are represented by Northampton attorneys John W. Drake and Colleen C. Currie, respectively.

The men were released on their own recognizance provided they stay away from and have no contact with the alleged victim.

They are due back in court Jan. 8 for a pre-trial hearing. That schedule is considered customary for this type of court proceeding.

If convicted, the brothers face up to life in prison.

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

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