Three men, two from Oak Bluffs and one from Bourne, were arraigned Thursday in Edgartown District Court, on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery. Oak Bluffs police sought the charges after an exotic dancer from Maine claimed she was attacked repeatedly, during a night-long alcohol- and drug-fueled party in April, organized by William J. Bernard, at his home on Franklin Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
A clerk-magistrate found probable cause to file criminal charges against the three men following a hearing on May 27. The men were arraigned the same day.
Mr. Bernard, 39, of Oak Bluffs was released on $5,000 bail following his arraignment on one charge of rape and one charge of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older.
Christopher McNally, 19, of Bourne was arraigned on identical charges and released after he posted $1,500 bail.
Anthony D. Somoano, 28, of Oak Bluffs was also arraigned on one charge of rape and one charge of indecent assault and battery. He was transported from the Barnstable House of Correction, where he was being held for a parole violation, to Edgartown District court for arraignment. Bail was set at $10,000.
Mr. McNally and Mr. Somoano are half brothers.
Mr. Somoano was recently released from prison in Arkansas, where he was serving time for drug and weapons violations. On Tuesday, Mr. Somoano remained in custody at MCI Cedar Junction, the state prison in Walpole.
Mr. Bernard said he had a previous sexual relationship with the woman. He and Mr. McNally told police in voluntary interviews that they had sex with the woman, but they said it was consensual.
Police attempted to interview Mr. Somoano in the Barnstable County Jail. He declined to speak with police investigators.
The Oak Bluffs police report describes in graphic detail a squalid evening that began when Mr. Bernard contacted the woman, identified only as “V”, at her home in Maine on March 31, and asked her to come to the Vineyard to dance and “be silly” with him.
The agreed-on price was $150 per hour. She told police that she traveled to Woods Hole on April 1, where Mr. Bernard met her and accompanied her to his house.
Late that evening, when the woman and Mr. Bernard returned from a trip to purchase alcohol, four other people arrived at the house. According to the report, the woman made it clear to the men that she was there for dancing, not sex.
She said she danced and socialized with the men for several hours. She and the men drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. She also told police that some of the men were snorting “piles of orange stuff” she assumed was Adderall, a stimulant used to treat attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy.
Early that morning, she told police, the accused men repeatedly raped her and forced her to perform sexual acts. Mr. Bernard directed much of the activity, according to the police report.
She told police Mr. Bernard paid her $500 when she arrived on the Island, and $300 just before she left to return to her Maine home.
The woman provided police a series of text messages she exchanged with Mr. Bernard over several days on her mobile phone. In one message sent April 4, the text of which is included in the police report, Mr. Bernard wrote, “The night was a bit out of hand and then u made it worse by being so stubrin.”
In those messages he repeatedly apologized to “V” and referenced a video he had made of the sexual activity.
In her messages the woman repeatedly expressed anger at Mr. Bernard for betraying her and allowing the other men to take advantage of her.
She told police Mr. Bernard had cameras in his home, and that he told her he had recorded the entire sequence of events. She also told police that she was afraid of Mr. Bernard and that he threatened to have her killed. After returning to Maine, the woman got a restraining order against Mr. Bernard. Mr. Bernard was later served with that restraining order.
Based on an interview with the woman, police applied for two search warrants for Mr. Bernard’s home, conducted on the afternoon of April 7. “Several firearms, video cassettes, film negatives, and medications were seized,” the report said. “There were no videos seized depicting any sexual activity of V with anyone or any videos of V.”
On April 7, Mr. Bernard agreed to be questioned by police at the Oak Bluffs police station, according to the report. He told police he had known the woman for several years, that he previously hired the woman as a nanny, and she became close with him and his family. He told police that he considers her a prostitute and pays her for sex. He told police that he arranged the party for Mr. Somoano, who had just been released from prison. He said he expected the woman to have sex with him and Mr. Somoano.
Mr. Bernard said he and the other two defendants “had sex with V that night at his house but it was consensual and an agreed-upon business transaction,” the report said. The report said he was adamant that the sex was consensual. He also attributed her accusations to jealousy, or an attempt to get more money from him. He told police that he told “V” he made a video of her having sex, but did not, according to the report.
On April 9, police interviewed Mr. McNally at the police station. He also said he had sex with the woman, and also said she was not forced to do anything at all.
Police also interviewed two other men who were at the party but were not charged. Both of those men told police they believed the sex was consensual.