California grad student arraigned Tuesday on rape charges

Adam M. Smith, 27, is accused of attacking and threatening a woman he met in an Edgartown bar and invited back to a rental house.

Michael Cummo

Adam M. Smith of Berkeley, Calif., a 27-year-old graduate student visiting Martha’s Vineyard to attend a bachelor party, was arraigned Tuesday morning in Edgartown District Court on three counts of rape, threatening to commit a crime (murder), and intimidation of a witness.

Mr. Smith is accused of holding down and raping a 30-year-old Boston woman in the bedroom of a rented house located on Mercier Way in the Katama section of town early Saturday morning, following a Friday night out on the town with friends.

Edgartown Police arrested Mr. Smith at 7:45 am Saturday morning. He was held at the Dukes County House of Correction on $100,000 bail.

Following his arraignment and a plea of not guilty, First Justice of the Edgartown District Court J. Thomas Kirkman set bail at $25,000.

Mr. Smith was ordered to surrender his passport and have no contact with the victim.

Mr. Smith posted bail, and left the courthouse later that day. He is scheduled to return on Oct. 30 for a pretrial hearing.

According to Edgartown Police, the woman and her two friends met a group of men in town that evening at the Seafood Shanty bar. The men invited the women back to their rental house after the bar closed.

“At the house the female victim went into a bedroom alone with the assailant,” Lieutenant Chris Dolby said in a press release issued Monday afternoon. “At some point, the female victim became uncomfortable with the situation and tried to leave the bedroom. She reported that she was then held down and raped. When she was able to leave the room, she reported that her assailant told her that he had a gun or guns in the house and would kill her if she told anyone about the incident.”

In court Tuesday, Cape and Islands assistant district attorney Amanda Chaves read aloud from the police report. Police arrived about 1:45 am to find the victim hysterically crying, according to the report. She told the police she had been raped and that Mr. Smith threatened to kill her with a gun.

The woman said that she had gone into the bedroom with Mr. Smith and started kissing, but when she didn’t want to go any further, he raped her.

Ms. Chaves said that Mr. Smith told the victim, “If you tell anyone, I will kill you.”

The woman was taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where she participated in a rape kit, Ms. Chaves said.

Mr. Smith waived his Miranda rights and was extremely cooperative with the police, according to the report read aloud in court.

Judge Kirkman was asked to keep bail at $100,000. Ms. Chaves said Mr. Smith has a string of alcohol-related offenses, obstruction charges for failing to appear in court, no ties to Massachusetts or Martha’s Vineyard, and a history of not showing up at court.

Defense attorney J. Drew Segadelli countered that his client’s alcohol offenses were drinking-in-public offenses, not OUIs.

He said Mr. Smith had graduated from the University of Colorado and is currently a graduate student at the School of Public Health at Berkeley.

“He has a supportive family and a history of succeeding at school,” Mr. Segadelli said, noting that Mr. Smith’s parents are both lawyers. “This is obviously a significant case, and it also has significant gaps.”

Mr. Segadelli said there was no mention in the police report of the woman’s alcohol consumption. “This case reeks of being released on personal recognizance,” he said. “This man’s never seen the inside of a jail before.”

Mr. Segadelli suggested bail be set at $10,000.

The Martha’s Vineyard Tactical Response Team was called on to assist Edgartown Police in the arrest of Mr. Smith after a background check revealed a past incident where he made a threatening Facebook post to kill police officers by ‘blowing their brains out,’” police said.

Lieut. Dolby said the case remains under investigation.