Trial opens for Pittsfield man accused of raping girl
PITTSFIELD — Prosecutors allege a Pittsfield man took advantage of a vulnerable teen girl who wanted attention and sexually assaulted her over a two-and-a-half year period.
The attorney for Omar Enriquez acknowledged there was a sexual relationship between the two, but told jurors during opening statements Friday that there was no crime committed because it did not begin until after the girl's 16th birthday.
Enriquez, 43, has entered not guilty pleas to three counts of rape of a child aggravated by an age difference. Enriquez was 38 when the alleged assaults began, and they continued until he was 40, when the relationship was discovered and reported to police. The girl was between 14 and 16 years old during that period.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Andrew Giarolo told jurors Friday that Enriquez was a trusted adult and a confidant in the child's life, and how that relationship took a turn on April 20, 2015, when he first assaulted her. Giarolo said that those assaults would occur virtually any time the two were left alone.
The alleged rapes were discovered by the child's mother in November 2016 and reported to police.
This is Enriquez's second trial on the rape charges. His first trial on those three counts and another charge of disseminating harmful matter to a minor was heard last July.
He was found guilty on the dissemination charge, but jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict on the rape charges, prompting the declaration of a mistrial on those counts.
Enriquez was sentenced to two years in jail on the dissemination conviction.
Giarolo told jurors they would hear some of Enriquez's testimony from that trial, including that he had sent a list of rules to the girl, titled "Set in Stone," which described the workings of a dominant-submissive relationship.
Enriquez's attorney, Nathaniel Green, asked jurors to pay close attention to all of the evidence, including the family dynamics at play during the time of the alleged assaults, the relationship between the victim and her mother and, most important, he said the physical evidence the state plans on introducing, including results of DNA testing.
Green told jurors it would be up to them to decide whether the sexual relationship between the two began before or after the girl turned 16.
Testimony is expected to continue in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge Daniel Ford on Tuesday.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.