Jury convicts Patrick Durocher of rape, assault and battery

By Brendan Deady

Former University of Massachusetts student Patrick Durocher, 20, of Longmeadow answers questions from his attorney, Vincent Bongiorni, during his trial in Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Kevin Gutting/Daily Hampshire Gazette)
Former University of Massachusetts student Patrick Durocher, 20, of Longmeadow answers questions from his attorney, Vincent Bongiorni, during his trial in Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton on Wednesday.
(Courtesy of Kevin Gutting/Daily Hampshire Gazette)

NORTHAMPTON — A jury found former University of Massachusetts student Patrick Durocher of Longmeadow guilty of rape and assault and battery in connection to a 2013 incident that took place in the middle of the Amherst campus.

Durocher, 20, was charged with the aggravated rape, kidnapping and assault and battery of a woman in front the Campus Center on Sept. 2, 2013. The jury found Durocher guilty of assault and battery and a lesser charge of rape. He was acquitted of the kidnapping charges.

Jurors found Durocher guilty of a lesser charge of rape after they determined the rape wasn’t aggravated by serious bodily injury.

The verdict was read in Hampshire Superior Court Friday afternoon after the jury deliberated for more than eight hours over the course of Thursday and Friday. Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl requested that Durocher’s bail be revoked until his sentencing hearing on Feb. 19. Judge Mary-Lou Rup denied Suhl’s request, as well as another motion to have a GPS monitoring device placed on Durocher until his sentencing hearing.

Prior to the reading of the verdict, Durocher stood next to his attorney, Vincent Bongiorni, with his head bent and hands clasped before him as the jury filed into the courtroom. His family sat in silence in the pew a few feet behind him.

Once the jury delivered the first guilty verdict of a lesser charge of rape, Durocher’s sister sobbed and covered her face with her hands. His mother cried and held her daughter’s head against her shoulder.

Durocher’s father rocked back and forth in his seat, cursed, and looked over his right shoulder in the direction of the victim’s parents who sat in the back row of the courtroom. A court officer approached Mr. Durocher and reminded him to heed the warning that Rup delivered prior to the jury’s entry: all attendees must retain their composure during the reading of the verdict.

Durocher turned toward his family after hearing the last guilty verdict for assault and battery. His cheeks were flushed red.

Throughout the trial, two drastically different versions of what transpired on Sept. 2 were delivered by the prosecution and defense. Based on the testimony of the victim and eyewitnesses, Suhl said that Durocher followed the woman home from a fraternity party, pinned her against a tree, then dragged her to the ground and raped her in front of the Campus Center.

Bongiorni and Durocher maintained that the two had interacted at a party earlier in the night, left together and had consensual sex. Bongiorni argued that the woman only accused Durocher of rape because she embarrassed that a photo of the incident was posted to social media and didn’t want her parents to find out.

A number of UMass students who walked by the Campus Center that night testified that they saw a man with his pants down on top of a woman who appeared “limp” and “unconscious.” One of the witnesses, Zlata Myshchuk, approached Durocher and asked if the sex was consensual, questioned whether Durocher had drugged the woman and claimed that Durocher told them to “stop blowing up his spot.”

Durocher walked away but encountered the group a few minutes later in front of Bartlett Hall, where the victim asked to lie down and slipped in and out of consciousness according to witnesses.

An ambulance was called and the woman was transported to Cooley Dickinson hospital. Once police arrived, Durocher identified himself and led officers to the place where he claimed the two had consensual sex and pointed out where the condom he used lay on the ground. Bongiorni argued that Durocher’s cooperation was an indication that the act was consensual and that his client had nothing to hide.

Suhl argued that once Durocher stood up, the woman asked for help and said she did not know what was going on. Witnesses described the woman as disoriented and unable to walk on her own. Throughout the trial, the defense and prosecution used the woman’s level of intoxication, a blood alcohol content reading of .22, in their arguments. Suhl argued that the woman was blackout, went in and out of consciousness and was unable to provide consent to sex.

During Bongiorni’s cross examination of the victim on Wednesday he questioned how the woman could remember specific details of the alleged assault – such as it being “an attack by a stranger” – but failed to remember other details, such as forgetting parts of the ambulance ride or specific conversations with nurses or police officers.

Both Durocher and the woman testified during the trial. Durocher claimed that the two had met at a party, decided to leave together, and that the woman stopped near the Campus Center and the two began kissing. He claimed that at no point did she call out for help or tell him to stop.

The woman testified that she had never met Durocher, consumed a few shots of alcohol at the fraternity house and left the party alone. The next thing she remembered was being thrown to the ground and being raped. She said she tried to tell Durocher to stop, felt disoriented and only regained consciousness while she was being loaded into the back of an ambulance.

During the closing arguments, Suhl said that Durocher’s testimony could not be corroborated with anyone else and that witness recollection disproved the claim that the woman had the ability to consent to sex.

Bongiorni countered that the woman’s conflicting recollections, initial refusal of a rape kit test at the hospital and the fact that her accusation of rape came after she learned about the social media post indicated that the claim was in response to the embarrassment felt from making a poor decision.

After the jury delivered the guilty verdict of rape and assault and battery, Durocher and his family solemnly filed out of the courtroom. Court officers then led Durocher, with tears in his eyes, toward the exit with his distressed sister under his arms while his family followed in silence. Moments later the parents of the victim were escorted out of a different exit.

Durocher, faces up to 20 years in state prison for rape and an additional two and half years for assault and battery. He was previously freed on $10,000 bail and will remain free until his sentencing hearing.

Brendan Deady can be reached at [email protected] or followed on twitter @bdeady26.