Nicholas Pirelli pleaded not guilty on Thursday to the alleged rape of a student in his campus office whom he met online.
36-year-old Bridgewater State University communications professor Nicholas Pirelli stands accused of the rape of an unidentified student he met online through a “sugar daddy” matching site. According to police reports, Pirelli allegedly met with the young woman after offering to help her with an essay as well as her resume. Pirelli also allegedly offered to use his “connections as a professor” to get her work on the Massachusetts campus.
After inviting her to a meeting in his office, Pirelli is said to have assisted the student with her essay for all of 30 minutes before abruptly kissing her. As she resisted, Pirelli allegedly forcibly removed her clothing and sexually assaulted her for approximately ten minutes. Afterward, he reportedly told her “good night” and left.
“When interviewing the victim, several times she broke down and began crying,” the report says, concluding that “detectives found the victim credible throughout their interviews with her.” Previously, Pirelli allegedly asked for the student’s discretion — as well as “risky” pictures. He also took pictures of his own sex toy collection.
Investigators found a “large cache” of communications between the two, some of which occurred after her alleged rape and “appeared to indicate from their tone” that the victim “may have found Pirelli’s actions acceptable to her.” She explained that the communications were “part of an effort to appease him,” police said, “in an attempt to ‘let him down easy’ and so as not to ruin her chances of obtaining employment through the university.”
It is important to note that maintaining contact with the abuser is common after sexual assault and does not indicate the innocence of the accused. As with the promise of employment or influence, abusers often deliberately create a situation in which the cessation of contact will have devastating implied consequences — the most notable example being billionaire movie mogul and convicted sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.
Despite the evidence at hand, Pirelli has denied any “physical encounters” in his office with the woman. According to the police report, “when confronted with the report of inappropriate touching, Pirelli stated, ‘That is extreme,’ and stated that he did nothing wrong.”
Bridgewater State University has released a statement saying it “has zero tolerance for misconduct, abuse, or violence against any members of our campus community and is committed to preventing and holding accountable anyone responsible for acts of physical and sexual assault,” assuring the public it is “working closely with the district attorney’s office in their prosecution of this alleged crime.”