21-year-old man charged with attempted rape at Taunton cemetery held without bail

21-year-old William Perez was arrested and arraigned on Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting a 44-year-old woman at Taunton’s Mayflower Hill Cemetery on Saturday afternoon.

“I can’t believe it. I’m devastated,” said Diane Cullinane. “This is my favorite place to walk. It’s peaceful usually. That’s why it’s very disturbing to find out somebody would come out and do what they did and attack somebody.”

The attack happened sometime after 2:30 p.m. and the victim said Perez, while holding a box cutter, grabbed her and pulled her towards this shed, and said “You’re coming with me.”

Parez pulled down her pants and tried to kiss her, but she fought back.

“Ultimately, she attempted to fight him off. However, he struck her with a closed fist to the left side of her cheek, and officers were able to observe swelling and considerable redness to her face,” said prosecutor Charles Schofield.

Authorities said when witnesses ran to help, the suspect ran into the woods, but he dropped his cell phone, which police recovered.

According to police, Perez was identified by video surveillance recorded on neighborhood security cameras, and he was arrested at his house. They said, his cell number matches the cell phone collected at the cemetery.

After court, Perez’s lawyer cautioned against a rush to judgment.

“Charges are very serious, I don’t want to be in haste and say anything, but the description provided in the police report is at least two or three different descriptions provide,” Defense attorney Amit Sing said.

Perez is charged with kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 years of age, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery.

He is ordered held without bail and was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

Perez is due back in Taunton District Court on May 19th.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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