Who is Gary Zerola? What are the various charges?
What does his attorney say? What does the District Attorney say?
The Gary Zerola rape trial is no game, certainly not to the accused or accuser.
But in one way, the trial might be likened to a ballgame.
You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
So here’s your DBKP Gary Zerola Rape Trial Scorecard.
Gary Zerola, 36, former People Magazine 2001 “Most Eligible Bachelor” list, attorney and assistant prosecutor, and was once under consideration for TV’s “The Bachelor”.
Zerola’s good looks and work with foster children were big pluses with the ladies.
Zerola, who is temporarily suspended from practicing law – or as his Web site words it, “not currently accepting new clients or practicing law” – faces a state Board of Bar Overseers disciplinary hearing before Supreme Judicial Court Justice John M. Greaney.
On trial for the first of two separate sets of charges in Suffolk Superior Court on charges he charmed, then raped two 19-year-old women in Boston in 2004 and 2006.
Zerola is accused of attempted rape and kidnapping in the Aug. 18, 2006, incident, when the girl in question was 19.
Zerola faces another, separate trial in the 2004 rape of another 19-year-old woman. He also faces additional charges in Florida, where he is accused of raping an 18-year-old woman at a Miami Beach hotel in October.
Zerola, who is free on bail, has pleaded not guilty to rape, assault to rape, kidnapping, assault and battery, witness intimidation and two counts of providing alcohol to a minor.
WHAT ZEROLA AND HIS ATTORNEY SAY:
In the present case, Zerola has denied the charges and his lawyer says his accuser made up the story.
Zerola’s lawyer, Janice Bassil, said his accuser has changed her account of the incident several times.
“She couldn’t tell the truth if her life depended upon it, let alone Gary Zerola’s life,” Janice Bassil, Zerola’s attorney said.
“She liked to party, she liked to drink and she did like to do drugs,” Bassil said of the Newton woman who was 19 and a student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
She said the woman allowed Zerola to buy her the expensive dress, holding the silk, leopard-print dress trimmed in black lace in front of the jury.
The defense counsel for a suspected serial rapist depicted Zerola as “a sap” being railroaded by a boozy, gold-digging wild child.
In the case of the Florida teen-age accuser, he has denied he had sex with her.
WHAT HIS ACCUSER HAS TO SAY ABOUT GARY ZEROLA
The alleged victim entered the courtroom in a prim gray suit, glasses and her blond hair swept back in a ponytail. She told Kontz she is learning disabled.
The accuser in the 2006 case said she first met Zerola at a Boston nightclub in July that year. She said they talked on the phone and exchanged text messages over the next month, then went shopping together on Aug. 18.
The 20-year-old accuser said that at first, she found Zerola fun, even charming. He bought her a $450 Dolce & Gabbana designer dress and $200 shoes at Neimann Marcus.
She said she felt awkward about Zerola buying her the gifts, but accepted them.
Zerola then let her drive his Porsche and bought her drinks at several Boston bars and clubs.
Zerola, she said, giggling, thought she was “amazing.”
“I thought he was really funny,” she said. “He seemed nice.”
Her date with Zerola, whom she’d met a month earlier while out clubbing with a fake ID, began with a shopping trip to Newbury Street the afternoon of Aug. 17, 2006.
After Zerola and the girl made the rounds of drinking at various Boston nightclubs and bars, the woman said, she told Zerola she wanted to take a cab back to her parents’ home in Newton.
She said Zerola insisted on giving her a ride. After they stopped at his apartment to use the bathroom, he attacked her, she said.
“He started to be really aggressive … I said, ’Seriously, Gary, what are you doing?’ ” she testified.
“He was scaring me,” she said. “I was like, ’Gary, you’re really scaring me.’ “
“He clearly was not letting me leave. I was now, like, basically crying. He was not letting me go,” she said.
She said the two struggled, but he pinned her on the couch with his knees and tried to unzip her dress.
Around 3 a.m. Aug. 18, the woman was calling 911 as she allegedly tried to escape Zerola’s clutches while stark naked.
WHAT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY HAS TO SAY ABOUT GARY ZEROLA
Earlier, during opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz told the jury that Zerola ripped the woman’s dress off, then slammed her head against the wall as she struggled with him. She said the woman eventually dialed 911 on her cell phone and got away when Zerola saw blue police lights outside the window of his apartment.
Koontz painted a picture of Zerola as someone who tried different tactics, each one turning up the pressure on the accused to have sex, until at last, he used force to try and subdue her.
Limited by the court as to how she can portray Zerola, Kontz hinted yesterday at her serial-rapist theory by telling jurors he “tried flashing” money at the 19-year-old to get sex, “tried to use pressure” and finally “tried to use force to take the sex from her.”
Kontz said Zerola decided he wanted to have sex with woman and became violent when she refused.
“He made the decision to use force, and tried to take sex from her,” Kontz said.
WHAT THE JURY WON’T HEAR FROM EITHER SIDE
What jurors won’t hear, per court order, is that last October Zerola violated the terms of his probation by skipping town to Miami Beach to see a Patriots [team stats] game. While there, he allegedly drugged and raped an 18-year-old college student he met in a bar. Zerola claims he’s innocent.
Zerola is scheduled to go to trial in Miami on sexual battery charges Feb. 25.
Zerola reportedly met all three of his alleged victims in clubs, where the teens had gotten in with fake IDs.
There you have it.
What’s been said so far on both sides.
What the reader knows that the jury doesn’t is that Gary Zerola has other rape charges pending, all involving teenage girls have were plied with gifts, drinks and, in one case, alleged drugs.
One further thing the jury won’t know is that Zerola skipped town and violated his probation terms when the alleged third rape took place, over 1000 miles away from the first two.
How would you decide if you were a member of the Gary Zerola jury?