West Tisbury police arrest man for nighttime indecent assault

— Photo courtesy of West Tisbury Police

Following an investigation, West Tisbury police arrested Joseph A. Amaral Jr., 35, of West Tisbury on July 18, on multiple charges in connection with an assault on a woman as she rested on her outdoor deck.

Police Chief Dan Rossi said Mr. Amaral was arraigned in Edgartown District Court Thursday morning, July 19, for assault and battery, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14, and assault with intent to rape. He was ordered held on $2,000 cash bail in the Dukes County Jail and later released by the court.

Mr. Amaral has denied the charges. “I don’t know her and I never did this,” he told The Times in a telephone call Tuesday.

Chief Rossi said Officer James Neville and Corporal Garrison Viera were alerted about 10:30 pm by the communications center switchboard that a caller, possibly the victim of a sexual assault, had dialed 911 but quickly hung up.

When police arrived at the house, they found the victim, who said she had struggled with Mr. Amaral and was able to get the better of her alleged attacker.

The woman told police that she was on her deck with her eyes closed and her feet up when a man she did not know suddenly came up and grabbed her from behind.

She initially thought it was her boyfriend until she opened her eyes. The man attempted to pull her from her chair and pull her pants off, she told police.

“She then stated that she had got him good by slapping him with her right hand. The male then ran through the gate and victim chased after him,” Corporal Viera wrote in his report of the incident.

The woman called to her boyfriend who was inside the house, but he did not hear her cries for assistance as she pursued her attacker.

“She told the male that he was not going to get away from her,” Mr. Viera said. “She stated that he ran around a bush to the right which is where he turned back at her. Victim said to herself, ‘I can either get raped or I can fight back.’ At this point, the male went towards her and she started to punch him and she kicked him in the (groin).”

They began to scuffle. “Victim stated that she was able to get the male into a choke hold from behind. She tried to get him to pass out,” according to the report.

As the fight continued, the victim “stated that she punched Amaral in the face at least twice and hit him with an open hand at least three times. Victim stated that she screamed for help numerous times but no one came.

“Victim said that as she was pulling his shirt, which ended up coming off, she kept on asking him who he was. Victim grabbed Amaral by his hair and ear, and continued asking him his name. The male responded and said, ‘I’m Joey Amaral, bitch!’ Amaral broke free and went home,” Corporal Viera wrote.

The victim ran to her her house and asked her boyfriend to call 911. When police arrived they found her “crying and shaking.” She had numerous bruises around her body, police said.

The victim was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and later released.

The description fit Mr. Amaral, a person the department “has had contact with numerous times,” police said. When police arrived at the home of Mr. Amaral, he provided a different version of events. He said the attack began when he thought he heard a woman say something, and he went to investigate.

“That crazy bitch attacked me,” he told police. “He went on to say that she punched him, slapped him, and beat him up.”

Corporal Viera said, “I could detect a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from Amaral, Jr.’s mouth. Amaral had a lot of scratches and marks on his back, a scratch on his neck, and bruises forming on his arms. Amaral’s face had marks on it like it had been hit.”

Police took Mr. Amaral in a police car to a location where the woman sat in an ambulance. She identified Mr. Amaral. Police arrested him. At the victim’s request police sought a harassment prevention order. On call, Judge Shannon Frison issued the order that night.

Mr. Amaral told The Times he never approached the woman on her porch. He accused her of instigating the fight and harassing his family. “I’m not a sexual predator or anything like that,” Mr. Amaral said. “I don’t even know her. Now, I have to get a lawyer and my life is turned upside down.”