Massachusetts

Auburn man’s trial on rape charge begins in Boston

The trial of a chestnut man accused of raping a woman at a Boston hotel in 2018 began Wednesday in a Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Charles Bergeron, 32, is one of two men accused of raping the 23-year-old former Auburn woman on the night of November 10, 2018 at the Westin.

Bergeron was charged with rape in Massachusetts. David Hughes, now 54, of Manhattan Beach, California, has been charged with kidnapping, assault with intent to rape and assault.

Both men have pleaded not guilty. Hughes’ trial is scheduled for August.

Several family members and friends of both the woman and the defendant were in the courtroom on Wednesday. The families are familiar with each other in the Lewiston and Auburn area. The woman was a standout basketball player at Edward Little High School while Bergeron played hockey and golf for St. Dominic Academy.

The men are accused of raping the woman, who was described as disabled and unable to consent, separately in the hotel that same evening. The woman has also sued Westin for reportedly failing to intervene in the sexual assaults. This civil case has not yet gone to court.

According to court documents, the woman was at a bar near TD Garden with her brother and friends that night. Shortly after she and her friends reached the bar, Bergeron arrived, having come to Boston with a group of friends.

The woman and Bergeron had dated briefly in 2015, according to court records, but the woman had made it clear on multiple occasions that she was no longer interested in him.

Later that night, according to court records, Bergeron, who was then married, put the woman in an Uber and took her back to his hotel room.

Court records refer to the woman only as Ms. Doe and emphasize her disability in several places.

“Video footage from the Westin Hotel shows Ms. Doe is unable to stand up and clearly requires assistance,” the complaint reads. “Due to her condition, Ms. Doe could not consent to the sex.”

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Bergeron took the woman to his room for a sexual encounter despite apparent signs she was incapacitated.

Documents say Doe fell in the lobby and was forced to sit in a chair – “leaning so backward it was obvious she wasn’t sober” – while Bergeron went to the front desk to get a spare key to his hotel room.

Bergeron is then accused of dragging Doe to the elevators before taking her to his sixth floor room and sexually assaulting her.

“After Mr. Bergeron raped Ms. Doe,” according to the court document, “he physically ‘loaded’ her into the elevator and sent her back to the hotel lobby while he retired to his hotel room.”

Shortly thereafter, the woman stumbled into the bar area near the lobby and, according to the records, laid her head on a table. That’s where she was discovered, according to court reports, by David Hughes, a Harvard Business School graduate who lives in Manhattan Beach, California, and was in Boston to celebrate his 50th birthday.

Hughes approached her within minutes of her sitting down and then led her to the elevators, the court document claims.

“At one point, before boarding an elevator, Ms. Doe had to steady herself by facing the wall and resting her forehead on it,” the suit reads. “An elevator appears to have arrived and closed before Ms. Doe could board the elevator because she was so disabled.”

Doe woke up “naked and bleeding” in the bed in Hughes’ room several hours later, the lawsuit states. She then went to her brother’s home and then to a hospital, where she reported the alleged sexual assault to the police.

According to the lawsuit against the hotel, Westin’s security team had “fired Ms. Doe as a sex worker.” and therefore did not intervene.

In Bergeron’s trial, a jury was selected Tuesday and the trial began around 2:15 p.m. Wednesday in Suffolk County Superior Court in Pemberton Square. Several court hearings in the case had been delayed due to COVID-19.

In Wednesday’s opening statement, Bergeron’s defense attorney vowed to prove his client’s sexual encounter with Ms. Doe was consensual.

The woman is expected to comment later this week.

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