6 05 2008

Man accused of raping disabled victim may face 44 felony charges

By Elizabeth Dinan

edinan@seacoastonline.com

May 05, 2008

Portsmouth, N. H,

Seacoastonline.com

http://www.seacoastonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080505/NEWS/80505014

Portsmouth — Jordan Cantwell raped and sodomized a “mentally defective” woman eight times in a rented Brewster Street Rooming House room, say police. Charged with eight related felonies, Cantwell, 25, of 177 Ten Rod Road, Farmington, may face an additional 36 felony counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault involving the same disabled victim, police detective Mike Schwartz said during Cantwell’s Monday arraignment.

Schwartz told District Court Judge Sawako Gardner that Cantwell committed the crimes during three different 2007 incidents by “overcoming the victim by force and by virtue of the fact that she is mentally defective.” He said police did not file the charges until now due to a backlog at the state crime lab, which ultimately confirmed Cantwell’s DNA was on the victim’s linens.

Noting Cantwell’s criminal history includes bail-jumping and felony burglary convictions, he asked the court to set bail at $20,000 cash for each of the eight charges.

“He’s said he’s seen the victim since and he has not been returning my phone calls,” Schwartz testified.

In custody of local police, Cantwell asked for personal recognizance bail and told the judge he has “been staying out of trouble,” is “not doing drugs” and is “not a flight risk.”

“I’m not doing anything illegal,” he said, adding he works at a McDonald’s and comes to Portsmouth for monthly diabetes treatment.

“I’d be willing to do curfew or whatever it takes,” he told the court.

Judge Gardner set bail at $20,000 cash and $10,000 personal recognizance and ordered Cantwell to have no contact with the victim. The judge also granted Schwartz’s request to seal the police affidavit related to the case and scheduled Cantwell to return to the court for a May 13 probable cause hearing.

According to Herald archives, Cantwell was arrested in May of 2007 for breaking into a car on Brewster Street and a count of disorderly conduct. While on bail for those allegations, he was arrested for domestic assault and resisting arrest, following a police call to Holiday Drive where a victim alleged he struck her and slapped a phone out of her hand to prevent her from calling police. At that time, he cited his residence as the Cross Roads House homeless shelter.

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