Young Storeowner Confronts Alleged Attackers in Court
BOSTON (AP) _ The young owner of a variety story in Boston’s inner city testified Wednesday she had been beaten several times, robbed and raped in an effort to scare her into not testifying against two men accused of the crimes.
The 21-year-old woman hyperventilated several times and wept occasionally during her more than two hours on the stand at a preliminary hearing in Dorchester District Court.
As a result of the hearing, Douglas Lemoine, 32, of Quincy, and James M. Driscoll, 22, of Boston were ordered held on $50,000 bail each, and the case was bound over to the grand jury.
The woman testified her ordeal began in late July when a man came into her store at night and used the pay phone. She said he was angry because he lost money in the phone and had to be escorted out by another customer.
The next morning, she said, the man returned, accompanied by another. She identified them as Lemoine and Driscoll.
She said they beat her, robbed her and that she was raped.
She testified that after the assault, one of the assailants hit her over the head with a cash register drawer and said, ″We’ll be back.″
About a week later, the woman said, she returned home briefly one afternoon and was attacked by Driscoll, who choked her with a rope for 10 minutes before pushing her on the floor and leaving. She testified that Driscoll ″told me to keep my mouth shut or he’d shut it up for good.″
After the attack in her store, the woman said she noticed that her license and a ring she had not taken off since eighth grade were missing. Later, she found her license tucked into a pile of newspapers in her store, her face blackened out. Her ring was later slipped into an envelope containing a threatening note that was placed on her car, she testified.
According to what she has told police, the latest scare occurred Monday when a man seized her after she stopped at a restaurant. She said the man kidnapped her in her own car and drove her around for two hours, threatening her and restraining her when she tried to jump out. Eventually the man left her in the car and fled, police said.
Lemoine was being held on charges of aggravated rape, unarmed robbery and assault and battery. Driscoll was being held on charges of armed assault, assault and battery, aggravated rape, breaking and entering, intimidating a witness.
The woman, who took over the store six months ago, also has reported being robbed and beaten in two other incidents, apparently unrelated to the recent attacks.
She has continued to work at her variety store because, according to her mother, ″she doesn’t want to let the neighbors down.″
She appeared in court Wednesday with her right arm in a splint, a slight bruise on her cheek and what she said were the remnants of rope burns on her neck.
Lemoine and Driscoll sat hidden behind a blackboard throughout her testimony.
When the prosecutor asked them to stand up so the woman could identify them at the close of her testimony, she gasped for air for several minutes and began to weep. She clung to a friend, then pointed to the men as her attackers before being escorted from the courtroom.