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Rape case against the first defendant arrested by Berkshire DA's new task force is moved to Superior Court

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Lucius Copeland of Pittsfield appeared in Berkshire Superior Court Tuesday afternoon for a dangerousness hearing in connection with charges involving the alleged rape of two juveniles. A prosecution request to hold him without the right to bail is under advisement with a judge.

PITTSFIELD — Prosecutors have asked a judge to continue to hold without the right to bail a 20-year-old man accused of raping two juveniles last summer.

Lucius Copeland, of Pittsfield, appeared in Berkshire Superior Court Tuesday afternoon for a dangerousness hearing. Copeland was previously deemed dangerous in Central Berkshire District Court, where his case originated, and was committed to custody for 120 days.

A grand jury indicted Copeland April 14, moving the case to Berkshire Superior Court. Copeland is the first defendant arrested by the Berkshire district attorney’s Violent Crime Task Force.

The initial 120-day hold order has expired, so Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Ilberg-Lamm filed a renewed request that Copeland continue to be held in custody without the right to bail. The request was taken under advisement this week by the court, according to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office.

Documents to support Ilberg-Lamm’s request were impounded because the case involves juvenile victims.

Copeland pleaded not guilty at his Superior Court arraignment last month to two counts of rape, one count of rape of a child with force and once count of trafficking a person under 18 for sexual servitude.

Police officers in Pittsfield, Hinsdale and Lee investigated allegations involving Copeland and connected him to sexual assaults of a 17-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl last summer.

According to a police report, Copeland allegedly represented himself as a 17-year-old to the 14-year-old victim, whom prosecutors allege he sexually assaulted after she denied his advances and offered her money in exchange for sex.

The police report states that Copeland allegedly raped the 17-year-old victim after a party in Pittsfield.

Copeland’s arrest was announced by Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington at a virtual press conference Dec. 29.

She said Copeland was the first person arrested following an investigation by the new Violent Crime Task Force. The DA’s office launched the task force last fall to improve how violent crimes, namely sexual and gender-based crimes, are investigated in the region.

Harrington’s press conference announcing Copeland’s arrest was covered by local media outlets, and drew a response from Copeland’s first defense attorney, Edmund St. John IV.

The attorney later withdrew from the case due to a conflict, but before he did, St. John IV filed a motion seeking a judicial order to prevent lawyers involved from the case from speaking to the press.

St. John IV cited comments Harrington made at the online press event. After reports of the event were published in the media, the defense lawyer said death threats were made online against his former client.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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