EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 13, 2012

Man accused of sex assault on disabled woman

He says actions "consensual,'' according to police

HAVERHILL — Police say a former Topsfield firefighter pressured a disabled woman to take off her clothes and sexually assaulted her while they were parked in a car at the edge of Interstate 95 in Georgetown.

William Wood, 57, of 14 Ross Road, Topsfield, was an on-call firefighter in the “spring or early summer” of 2011, when he met the 29-year-old woman who was confined to a wheelchair, according to a state police report..

The report said that after Wood and the woman met at the fire station, they went for a drive and he pulled off the highway, pressured her to take off her shirt and bra, touched her inappropriately and took photos of her with a cell phone camera.

After the woman reported that and another incident involving Wood to the Topsfield fire chief, he and a town lawyer talked to Wood, police said. Wood told them anything that happened between him and the woman was consensual, according to police.

Police arrested Wood on Thursday on a warrant and charged him with assault and battery on a person with a disability, indecent assault and battery, and annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex. Wood was arraigned in Haverhill District Court yesterday. Judge Stephen Abany ordered that Wood be held on $4,000 bail and be ordered to stay away from the woman. A relative of Wood was seen posting Wood’s bail shortly after his arraignment.

The Eagle-Tribune left phone messages for Wood and his lawyer Alisa Rosenthal on Friday night. Those calls were not returned.

A call or on-call firefighter is typically a volunteer member of a department who receives pay when he is called in to work.

The woman often parked her car at the Topsfield Fire Station because she trains nearby for wheelchair road races, the police report said. It said she became friendly with several of the firefighters and was interested in firefighting.

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