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Prosecutors drop rape charges against former Proctor Academy student



Monitor staff
Monday, June 05, 2017

The Merrimack County Attorney’s office has dismissed its case against a former Proctor Academy student accused of sexual assault.

Derek Tillotson, 20, of Bow was scheduled to stand trial this week in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord on three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of simple assault. The case was removed from Monday’s trial docket after prosecutors dropped the five charges Friday.

By phone Monday, Assistant Merrimack County Attorney Joseph Cherniske declined to say why the case was dismissed.

“I’m not going to comment on that, other than to say we’re not moving forward with charges at this time,” he said.

Tillotson was accused of raping a fellow student at the Andover prep school when he was 18 and the girl was 16. The incident was alleged to have occurred at a girls’ dormitory on the evening of Oct. 25, 2015.

In pre-trial motions, the defense did not dispute that Tillotson entered a girls’ dormitory that October evening, but argued that the alleged victim gave conflicting accounts about the circumstances under which he did so. The defense sought to admit certain evidence contradicting the girl’s claims that she was overcome by physical force and did not consent.

Judge Diane Nicolosi handed down her latest ruling in the case Friday, the same day prosecutors dropped their case. In her ruling, Nicolosi sided with the defense by limiting the testimony of a sexual assault nurse examiner, who provided medical care to the girl and found no evidence of physical injury.

The nurse would have been allowed to testify that a normal exam is not indicative one way or the other of sexual assault. However, she would not have been permitted to cite statistics on how often nurses find evidence of physical injury in sexual assault cases.

In a statement Monday, Tillotson’s attorney, Donna Brown, said, “We felt that a trial would have shown that Derek was not guilty of these charges, but we’re glad not everyone has to go forward with a trial.”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)