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Crime News Cold Cases

New York-Area Lawyer Allegedly Linked to Multiple Boston Rapes with Drinking Glass DNA Pleads Not Guilty

DNA from a glass Matthew Nilo drank out of was used to tie him to the attacks that allegedly occurred in 2007 and 2008 in Boston, a prosecutor said Monday.

By Gina Salamone
How Does Genetic Genealogy Help Law Enforcement?

A Manhattan lawyer who was arrested outside his New Jersey home last week pleaded not guilty Monday to sexually assaulting four women in Boston in a series of attacks that took place about 15 years ago. 

Matthew Nilo, 35, appeared at Suffolk Superior Court to face three counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of assault with intent to rape and one count of indecent assault and battery, according Boston-based station WCVB-TV.

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Nilo's accused of carrying out the four alleged attacks in 2007 and 2008, while he was living in the city, with some of the victims saying he held them at gunpoint. The three women who said they were raped say that their attacker picked them up in a vehicle and took them to Terminal St. in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston.

The fourth victim has said she was assaulted while going for a jog, but was able to escape.

Nilo was ordered held on $500,000 bail Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Matthew Nilo in Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, Monday, June 5, 2023.

The first two victims were at bars in downtown Boston before they were allegedly assaulted, the AP reported. One of them said yes to a ride from a man she believe she knew and who said he'd help her find her car. He allegedly drove her to Charlestown and raped her. The second victim believed she was getting into a taxi, but she was taken to Charlestown and raped by a male driver. Both of those alleged victims were 23 at the time of the attacks. 

In the third instance, a woman was allegedly raped while begging for money on the street. Nilo is accused of offering the then-36 year old money if she got in his vehicle. 

The fourth victim, who was 44, was out for jog when someone allegedly attacked her from behind. She was able to poke the man assaulting her in the eye and get away, according to prosecutor Lynn Feigenbaum.

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DNA from a glass Nilo drank out of was used to tie him to the attacks. 

Police initially used DNA from all four victims last year to link Nilo to the alleged crimes using forensic genetic genealogy, which compares DNA collected from attacks with records available from genealogy databases. 

Gathering enough of a link to zoom in on Nilo as a suspect, the FBI then tracked down drinking glasses and utensils he had used at a corporate event this year. DNA on one of the cups he drank out of matched samples from the three rape victims, and was a likely match to a DNA sample found on the glove of the fourth victim who poked him in the eye, authorities say.

“I do understand that the procedures used by law enforcement are somewhat suspect,” Nilo’s attorney, Joseph Cataldo, said outside the court Monday, according to the AP. “It seems that they obtained DNA evidence without ever obtaining a search warrant. If that turns out to be true, that’s an issue that will be pursued vigorously.”

Nilo's fiancée was present at the Suffolk Superior Court Monday, but declined to comment outside the courtroom, WCVB reported. 

Nilo is due back in court next Monday. He will have to wear a tracking device should he make bail, as well as avoid the area where the alleged attacks happened, and give up his passport. 

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