Man freed after 30 years pleads not guilty to rape charge

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SALEM, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man freed from prison after serving three decades for a rape he says he did not commit pleaded not guilty Monday to new rape charges.

George Perrot, 50, was held without bail after a hearing in Essex Superior Court in connection with the allegation that he raped a woman in January. He is accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on a sidewalk in Lawrence.

Perrot was convicted of raping 78-year-old Mary Prekop in her Springfield home in 1985 based, in part, on one strand of hair. He was freed in 2016 after a judge found an FBI agent's testimony about microscopic hair evidence was flawed.

The judge who released Perrot said he is "reasonably sure" that the man didn't rape Prekop. Prekop repeatedly said the man who beat and raped her didn't have any facial hair. On the night of the attack, Perrot had a beard and a mustache.

Prosecutors dismissed the charges in 2017.

Perrot said in an emailed statement at the time that he was now "truly free."

Defense attorney Thomas Torrisi said Monday that Perrot maintains that he is innocent of both the new allegations and the previous charges.

Torrisi said his client was given "no direction" after he was released from prison and "fell into what would be expected, a life of living on the street, of drugs and alcohol," reported .

Another hearing has been set for June.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, whose office prosecuted Perrot's first case, said in a statement that they continue to "maintain the position that George Perrot committed several heinous offenses of elderly female victims."

"Regrettably, there is another victim who has now allegedly suffered at his hands three decades later," Gullini said.

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