METHUEN — Ex-Methuen police officer David Blache's anticipated release from jail was postponed yesterday after the Essex County district attorney's office learned he wouldn't be staying with his mother while he awaits a new trial on charges he raped a Haverhill woman.
Blache, 43, was scheduled to move into a Methuen rooming house on Broadway instead.
But prosecutor Karen Hopwood argued against the release yesterday, and a Salem Superior Court judge agreed to keeping Blache behind bars for at least one more day to provide the district attorney more time to review the matter.
"We objected to his release today because of his proposed change in the living arrangement," district attorney's spokesman Steve O'Connell said in an interview last night.
"But we are now satisfied that the Probation Department has researched it, and we will not object to the living arrangement at (today's hearing)," O'Connell said.
A jury convicted Blache of raping a Haverhill woman while he was on duty and in uniform on Aug. 18, 2000. He was sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison after his 2002 trial.
But the state Supreme Judicial Court overturned his conviction last month and said he deserves a new trial because the original judge failed to give proper instructions to the jury on when someone is too intoxicated to consent to sex. The district attorney's office intends to retry the case.
Earlier this month, Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy set bail at $5,000 instead of the $100,000 cash bail that prosecutors sought. Blache's lawyer wanted him released on personal recognizance.
"I posted the $5,000, but they gave it back to me," Blache's brother Robert said after yesterday's development.
"They're doing everything they can to mess with the poor guy because he got his verdict overturned. It's like the DA is being vindictive and trying to punish him because he got a new trial," Robert Blache said.
The initial arrangement was that once the ex-officer was released on bail, he would live with his mother and wear a monitoring bracelet.
But the Probation Department suggested that David Blache obtain an alternative arrangement at a rooming house after his attorney disclosed that Blache's mother would get evicted from her Housing Authority room if Blache went to live with her.
Robert Blache said he was willing to let his brother live at his Sandown, N.H., home, but that wasn't considered an acceptable option.
"I don't have Verizon, and they use Verizon for their bracelets. And I live out of state in New Hampshire," Robert Blache said.
"When we found out that staying at my house wasn't an option, probation suggested the boarding house. So, we found a place at the rooming house at 91 Broadway," he said.
The Probation Department had the boarding house address and phone number for a week. That information should have been transferred to the district attorney's office, Robert Blache insisted.
So, to penalize David Blache and his family because of the lack of communications is "cruel and totally unfair," he said.
Robert Blache said he and his family are optimistic about his brother's chances of acquittal in the next trial.
"We're convinced he's innocent," he said.
"Did he disgrace his uniform and have an affair with this girl? Yes. Did he rape her? I don't think so," he said.
David Blache has already served 51/2 years in prison at Bridgewater. For the past three weeks, he's been kept in isolated confinement at the Essex County Jail in Middleton.
The ex-policeman's troubles developed from an August 2000 call he made to River Place apartment to investigate a report of an unwanted guest. He sought permission from a patrol supervisor to drive an intoxicated 26-year-old woman who did not have money for cab fare to get back to her Haverhill home.
Later, the woman accused Blache of raping her in the back seat of his cruiser. Blache admitted having sex with the woman but told investigators it was consensual on the couch in her apartment.