Boston Herald


- By Flint McColgan flint.mccolgan@bostonhera­

Charged with allegedly raping a woman in 2016, former prosecutor and one-time People magazine “most eligible bachelor” Gary Zerola faced his accuser in court as she took the stand still shaking from what she said happened to her seven years ago.

Zerola, 51, who served as a prosecutor in both Essex and Suffolk counties before becoming a defense attorney, has pleaded not guilty to accusation­s that he raped a 23-yearold woman in 2016.

The day began with intense opening arguments, in which prosecutor Tom Brant stated in specific detail what allegedly happened between Zerola and the alleged victim and defense attorney Rosemary Scapicchio calling the victim, by name, “a liar.” And then the victim herself took the stand.

Testifying just before lunch yesterday, the victim was describing how the apartment of Zerola’s friend, Johnathan, who she testified she had never met, looked on the night of Nov. 9, 2016.

That night, she and her close friend went out for drinks following work as estheticia­ns in Boston — and hadn’t even changed out of their work uniform scrubs. They were going to meet up with Zerola, who was in, as the victim described it, a “sexual relationsh­ip” with her friend.

After having several drinks out, she testified, they all took an Uber over to Johnathan’s apartment.

What allegedly happened the next morning, as she lay asleep on the short section of the L-shaped couch, was detailed in Brant’s opening arguments earlier.

“On the morning of Nov. 10, 2016, at a little before 7 a.m. (the victim), 23 years old, was asleep in a place she had never been before, an apartment she had never been before, on a couch she had never been on before. She didn’t wake up from an alarm, she didn’t wake up from a noise, what she awoke to was the defendant, Gary Zerola,” Brant said, before describing an act of sexual assault this newspaper won’t detail.

“She looked at him as she awoke and said, ‘What are you doing?,’” Brant continued, adding that Zerola said nothing but continued and escalated the assault, even as the victim repeated, “‘What are you doing? What the (expletive) are you doing?!’”

Lies, said Zerola’s defense in a scathing rebuttal.

“Plain and simple, she’s a liar,” said attorney Scapicchio, pacing before the jury. “The story you just heard from the commonweal­th doesn’t tell half of what happened.”

Where the victim said that Zerola had been coming on to her all night, with much touching and kissing on her — and had showed police the SnapChat videos of the offending moments when she spoke with them initially on May 12, 2016 — Scapicchio says a key moment was left out of her story, that she wouldn’t tell the police until an interview on May 15, 2023.

“What she doesn’t tell them, what she keeps from them, until May 15 of 2023, is that she kissed him in a SnapChat as well,” Scapicchio said. “And it isn’t that she came in with this epiphany that she wanted to tell the truth … she told that story because we sent documents to the commonweal­th proving that she’s a liar.”

Scapicchio went on to say that in the times since the alleged assault, the alleged victim has behaved in ways that don’t comport with expected displays from the victim of a rape, including posting social media content with Zerola in a friendly manner.

Scapicchio pressed the alleged victim on the stand to reconcile various statements that she has made leading up to trial, including that the victim had said she had never been alone with Zerola ex

cept when he came into her workplace for appointmen­ts.

Scapicchio, however, said that the alleged victim and Zerola had been alone together, though, when he took her for a motorcycle ride. The alleged victim conceded that she did this, for “maybe 5 minutes,” but that isn’t what she meant, she meant they had never hung out or socialized before.

It was on this point that came the most shocking moment in the case: when Scapicchio asked the alleged victim if she remembered performing oral sex on Zerola in a garage following that ride.

The alleged victim appeared shocked by the question, saying: “I would NEVER do that. That is (expletive) bull (expletive)!”

During his opening statement — and recalled during his redirect examinatio­n of the alleged victim — Brant said that none of what came before them matters, and that all that matters is consent.

“This drinking, and having fun, and going out to a strip club (that was closed), has nothing to do with consent,” Brant said. “Gary Zerola on the morning of Nov. 10, used his access, used his opportunit­y, to pull the scrubs down. It was so easy.”

Zerola was a criminal defense attorney ahead of these charges. He also spent a year as a prosecutor in the Essex DA’s office and two months as a prosecutor in the Suffolk DA’s office, according to the Suffolk DA’s office.

Once dubbed Boston’s most eligible bachelor by People magazine in 2001 and named a finalist for ABC’s first season of “The Bachelor,” Zerola also has a pending charge accusing him of rape from 2021. He pleaded not guilty on that charge after he was indicted.

Prosecutor­s, in that case, said Zerola and a then 21-year-old woman met through a friend, and the three of them went to a private party with several dozen other people at a Boston bar, after which he drove her home. Then, as the woman was drunk and asleep in her own bed, she awoke to find Zerola sexually assaulting her, prosecutor­s said.

The high-profile attorney was also accused in 2006 of raping two women in his North End apartment and was acquitted on those charges. In 2007 he was accused of raping a woman in a Miami Beach hotel, but those charges were dismissed.

He is back in court Wednesday.

 ?? HERALD POOL PHOTO ?? Gary Zerola goes over some paper work during his trial yesterday.
HERALD POOL PHOTO Gary Zerola goes over some paper work during his trial yesterday.
 ?? HERALD POOL PHOTO ?? Witness Jacqueline Hurley, a bartender at the former Four Winds in Boston testifies at the trial.
HERALD POOL PHOTO Witness Jacqueline Hurley, a bartender at the former Four Winds in Boston testifies at the trial.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States