Northampton man charged with bathroom peeping accused of raping woman in his tent

  • Hampshire County Courthouse, District and Superior Courts, 15 Gothic Street, Northampton. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/14/2022 6:36:14 PM
Modified: 6/14/2022 6:33:58 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A man charged in April with photographing a woman using a Smith College restroom was arrested last week and charged with two counts of raping another woman inside the tent where he lived near Lyman Road.

Nathaniel Hargis, 27, was out on personal recognizance awaiting court proceedings when he was arrested last week on the new charges. After his arraignment Friday in Northampton District Court, he was ordered held at the Hampshire County Jail and House of Correction pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for this Friday.

At around 11:20 a.m. on April 25, an employee at the Smith College Brown Fine Arts Center was using a women’s restroom when she saw a phone camera pointing at her from the neighboring stall, according to court records. She told police that she left the restroom and waited for the other person to emerge; she confronted the man, later identified as Hargis, but he left the building and skateboarded away down Bedford Terrace.

The employee shared several pictures and a video of the suspect with the Campus Safety Department. In the video, Hargis allegedly “acknowledges being in the women’s restroom.” The employee said Hargis denied filming her.

Hargis was issued a summons to appear in court on May 13 and was released without bail on the condition that he stay away from Smith College property.

Early Thursday morning, police allege, Hargis raped a woman he had met on Pleasant Street. According to police reports, the woman got into a “verbal argument” at a bar and went outside, where she met Hargis and he offered her marijuana.

Northampton police allege that Hargis invited the woman to his residence and she did not realize he lived in a tent “off of Manhan Rd. near the intersection of Lyman Rd.” Once there, the victim “stated that she smoked one more time with him then felt her body go numb,” a police report reads.

Hargis allegedly forced the woman to perform oral sex before raping her. The victim told police that she said “no” several times “but she was unable to move her body.” After the alleged rape, the woman was able to get outside the tent “grab her belongings and run,” a police report reads.

The victim told investigators she had lost her nose ring, which police said they found in Hargis’ tent. The tent was seized by Massachusetts State Police and sent to the crime lab for processing. Court records indicate that the victim had an unspecified “minor injury” and that she underwent a sexual assault examination at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Later that night, police spotted Hargis returning to the area where his tent had been pitched. Hargis allegedly told police that he had consensual sex with the victim and that she left because she got a phone call.

An attorney for Hargis was out of the office and could not be reached on Tuesday. A message left with her law partner was not immediately returned.


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