AMHERST (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - Four teenagers accused of raping a University of Massachusetts student in her dorm room have pleaded not guilty.
Police say the Oct. 13 attack happened after someone else signed the teenagers into the dorm on the UMass flagship campus in Amherst. They say the teenagers aren't students at the university, but the victim knew them.
Defendants Emmanuel Bile, Justin King and Adam Licciardi are 18-years-old. Defendant Caleb Womack is 17. They're all from Pittsfield, about 45 miles west of Amherst.
A Northwestern District Attorney's Office spokeswoman says a judge on Monday set bail at $10,000 cash for each defendant and said they must wear GPS tracking.
"In my entire time on the bench, this is the most egregious set of facts I've ever heard," the judge who heard the case said of the allegations.
After reviewing the case, the judge said the four suspects went to the victim's room uninvited and that the victim actually texted the suspects to stay away. However, both sides then reportedly drank, and the alleged rape occurred later that night.
University officials told FOX 25 that trained students man the reception desk on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and that everyone must sign in and show identification before entering the dorm.
Police say three of the four suspects reportedly left that night, but one of the suspects stayed and raped the victim a second time.
The defense attorney for one of the suspects said that the victim allegedly smoked marijuana and took multiple shots the evening the reported rape occurred. The attorney also said the victim texted the suspects the day after the incident asking for $500 each in exchange for her silence.
Prosecutors did not deny the victim texted the suspects, but called the strategy a defense tactic.
UMass officials told other students about the attack on Monday. Police say there's no danger to anyone else on campus and telling students earlier might have hurt their investigation.
Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said in a statement that maintaining a safe learning and living community is of the upmost importance and violence will not be tolerated.
According to officials at UMass, this is the 5th reported forcible rape in 2012.
The suspects are due back in court in December.
The Associated Press contributed this report.
Statement from UMass:
Four men from Pittsfield have been arrested for the rape of an 18-year-old student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The attack is alleged to have occurred in the victim's residence hall room in the early morning hours of Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. The alleged perpetrators are known to the victim and are not UMass Amherst students. Charged with rape are Emmanuel Bile, 18, Justin King, 18, Adam Licciardi, 18, and Caleb Womack, 17.
Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, "Maintaining a safe learning and living community is of the upmost importance to our campus. We will not tolerate this violent behavior. The victim and her family are receiving support from our campus resources. I know that I speak on behalf of our university community when I say that they are all in our thoughts during this difficult time."
UMass Amherst Police Chief John Horvath said that upon notification of the crime, his department began an immediate investigation and determined that the general campus community was not in danger. The Pittsfield men were arrested by a team made up of members of the UMass Amherst Police, Pittsfield Police and the Massachusetts State Police Detectives Unit assigned to the Berkshire County District Attorney's Office.
Horvath said, "The safety of our students is paramount. Following the incident, we communicated with security personnel and residence hall staff to reiterate current security procedures. In addition, while campus security measures have generally proved effective in the past, the university will conduct a comprehensive review of security in our residence halls. The campus is providing support to the victim and her family through our well-established resources on campus. In addition, we will redouble our efforts to educate all members of our community about protecting their safety."
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