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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Massachusetts man not guilty on most charges following Nashua teen’s rape allegations

NASHUA – Frank Moore admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old girl and that’s all a jury found him guilty of following short deliberations.

Moore was found guilty of two felonious sexual assault charges and not guilty on a number of more severe aggravated felonious sexual assault counts, a sign the jury believed Moore’s defense attorney, public defender Michael Davidow’s arguments that there was not enough evidence to prove the now 15-year-old victim’s claims. ...

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NASHUA – Frank Moore admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old girl and that’s all a jury found him guilty of following short deliberations.

Moore was found guilty of two felonious sexual assault charges and not guilty on a number of more severe aggravated felonious sexual assault counts, a sign the jury believed Moore’s defense attorney, public defender Michael Davidow’s arguments that there was not enough evidence to prove the now 15-year-old victim’s claims.

“You have proof of sexual contact and nothing more, which is what Frank Moore told you happened,” Davidow said during his closing argument. “The physical evidence makes her story impossible.”

Prosecutors accused Moore, a 30-year-old Massachusetts man, of brutally raping the girl in the parking lot of an abandoned building on West Hollis Street in Nashua on July 11, 2013. The two made contact via Facebook and the girl thought she was meeting Moore to talk about their shared interest in cooking and to get advice about culinary schools. After he tackled her in the parking lot, pinned her to the pavement and raped her, Moore drove the girl home and spent an hour there talking with her mother, prosecutors said.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Catherine Devine told the jury of nine men and five women the victim did everything she was supposed to do after a rape, including telling someone as soon as possible, going to the hospital and talking to police.

In return, she was investigated, blamed and portrayed as a promiscuous liar, Devine said.

“If this was consensual, why would she report it right away and go through all of this? Why would anyone?” she said.

Moore was found not guilty on six counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. A witness tampering charge that stemmed from a phone call police tapped between Moore and the victim was dismissed during the trial.

“The child was very courageous coming forward,” Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance said. “She did everything she was supposed to. We’re very grateful she had the courage to come forward and say what happened to her.”

Moore’s sentencing on the felonious sexual assault counts will take place at a future hearing.

Moore testified in his own defense and said while he had sex with the girl, he did not force himself on her. His defense attorneys focused on what they said were inconsistencies in the girl’s statements during initial interviews with police, at the hospital, the Child Advocacy Center and on the witness stand. The girl had reason to make up a story about being raped, Davidow said, because she was worried about being pregnant and was afraid of her mother’s reaction. He also said the girl’s mother complained to a therapist about the teen’s penchant for lying and impulsivity.

Moore has been in jail since his arrest last summer.

Davidow declined to comment on the verdict.

His trial was delayed while a pair of psychiatric experts evaluated him, eventually leading Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Charles Temple to rule Moore was essentially faking mental illness in an attempt to avoid a trial.

The first psychiatrist to evaluate Moore, Dr. Dennis Becotte, said Moore was not competent to stand trial and should be re-evaluated after six to nine months of treatment. A second psychiatrist, Dr. Albert Drukteinis, said Moore is competent to go to trial, according to Temple’s ruling.

The jury returned its verdict late Friday afternoon.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).