Man accused of rape, kidnapping in Vineyard Haven

Following a Tisbury Police investigation and arrest, a man has been charged with rape and kidnapping. — Rich Saltzberg

Edgartown District Court Judge Benjamin Barnes set bail at $20,000 on Monday for a man accused of kidnapping a 16-year-old near Main Street in Vineyard Haven, driving her to another part of town, and raping her. Chad Atkinson, who appeared remotely from the Dukes County Jail, pleaded not guilty to the rape and kidnapping charges. 

Assistant District Attorney Martin Kelliher told the court the victim had just attended the Tisbury Fire Department’s car show on Sept. 18, and was walking near Main Street at approximately 4 pm when a black sedan with tinted windows pulled beside her and a male driver began to ask her questions. 

“The male then grabbed the juvenile’s cell phone from her hand and placed it inside his vehicle,” Kelliher said.

Kelliher said the victim then got in the vehicle and the man drove around with her, refusing to give her phone back.

The victim repeatedly said she wanted to go home, Kelliher said, but “the male would continue to change the subject and further drive around.”

Kelliher alleged the male drove to a spot along Lambert’s Cove Road, raped his passenger, and dropped her off at a Tisbury coffee shop. 

Tisbury Police later set up a sting after it was allegedly discovered the man was subsequently calling and texting the victim, Kelliher said. 

On Sept. 23, the man allegedly agreed to meet the victim at the same coffee shop. After the man allegedly surveilled the coffee shop, Kelliher said, Tisbury Police tailed him and pulled him over. The man they pulled over matched a description given by the victim, Kelliher said. The man was identified as Chad Atkinson. 

Following an interview at the Tisbury Police Station where he allegedly was read his rights and where he signed a Miranda form, Atkinson was arrested.

Ahead of the bail ruling, Atkinson’s bail attorney, Casey Dobel, argued her client should be released on personal recognizance or for a sum no greater than $1,500. Dobel described $20,000 as “utterly unaffordable for my client.” Dobel argued a GPS device didn’t make sense, but a stay away/no contact order was OK. “He is eager to fight these charges,” Dobel said.

In addition to $20,000 cash bail or $200,000 surety, Judge Barnes ordered Atkinson to wear a GPS should he make bail, that he stay away from the alleged victim, and that he stay away from people under the age of 18 years. 

Atkinson was agreeable to the stay-away order, according to Dobel.

His next court date is expected in October. 

Tisbury Police Lt. Bill Brigham told The Times on Monday that Atkinson’s arrest came as the result of a “very, very intense investigation.” Lt. Brigham credited Tisbury Police Det. Charles Duquette with much of that work. Lt. Brigham said a “dangerous person” is now “off the streets.” Given the restricted nature of such cases, Lt. Brigham said he could not provide any further details. 


  1. Thank you for protecting her. So sorry this happened to her. There are more and more predators showing up to the island now.. it’s no longer a bubble … it has popped 😞 sadly the laws protect the predators almost more than the victims. That Has to change

  2. Why isn’t this article on the front page? You literally have to search “rape” to find it. The way kids (adults too) are with their phones, this could easily happen again and to anyone. Please prioritize this article for awareness. Thank you.

  3. Why isn’t this guy in jail? And since I live on Lamberts Cove Rd. I’d like to know where exactly this rape happened.

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