A Massachusetts defense attorney who once made a “most eligible bachelor” list alongside the likes of actors Ben Affleck and Benicio del Toro has been charged with rape, all while out on bail in a separate sexual assault case.
Gary Zendola, 49, of Salem, was arrested Jan. 15, the Boston Police Department announced. He was arraigned in court the same day for rape and breaking and entering with felony intent, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office stated in a press release.
He’s accused of breaking into a woman’s residence during the early morning hours of Jan. 12. The woman allegedly “awoke to find him sexually assaulting her,” the press release states. Zerola met the woman at a gathering hours earlier, and then he and a mutual acquaintance accompanied her home.
It’s not the first time Zerola has been accused of sexual assault. He is still facing charges for the alleged rape of a different woman in 2016, the press release notes. He posted $10,000 bail in that case.
Two women came forward recently, claiming that Zerola had raped them in the 1990s, authorities said.
“He has a history of rape allegations dating back to 1996,” Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement, local outlet NECN reports.
Additionally, he was acquitted of two rape charges in Boston in 2008. A rape charge in Florida was also dropped.
Prosecutors claim Zerola "has drawn on his experience as both a criminal defense attorney and a rape defendant to avoid consequences,” according to NECN.
Zerola is being held without bail on the most recent charges.
Zerola previously worked as an assistant district attorney for Essex County for one year and in Suffolk County for two months in 2000.
In 2001, People touted him as one of America’s 50 most eligible bachelors, noting his work as an attorney as well as foster care advocate.
“Statistically speaking, I should be in debt or in jail because of the upbringing I had,” he told the magazine at the time, citing his own experiences in foster care as a child.
Actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Benicio del Toro also made that particular bachelor list.
Zerola’s lawyer Joseph Krowski Jr. said there is little evidence to back the new allegations. Following his client’s 2016 arrest, he said the accusations were based on “a foundation of lies,” NECN reported at the time.
Zerola is scheduled back in court on Feb. 22.
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