A witness testifies in the rape trial of Michael Socciarelli that she had video on her phone — unknown to prosecution and defense attorneys — showing the defendant groping the alleged victim, a 16-year-old girl.
CANANDAIGUA — It was a roller coaster of a day in the jury trial of Michael Socciarelli, 34, of Hopewell, who is facing six counts including first-degree rape involving a 16-year-old girl.
On Thursday shortly before 6 p.m. a witness who is related to the victim testified that she had cell phone video from the night of the party at a Town of Canandaigua residence where the rape is alleged to have happened. The video, which she said shows Socciarelli groping the girl's bottom, had not been produced to the defense.
“I showed the video to the investigator,” said the witness, who alleges that at the time of the party she also was drinking alcohol purchased by Socciarelli. “You could see him grabbing her butt.”
Ontario County Assistant District Attorney Jim Ritts stated that he was not aware of the video and that it wasn’t in any logs. Both Ritts and Socciarelli’s defense team of Carrie Bleakley and Ben Gilmour were reviewing the video outside the presence of the jury as the day wrapped up.
Earlier in the day experts testified that Socciarelli’s DNA was found on the victim's undergarments and on her body after a rape kit examination, though no semen was found.
The alleged victim was at the party with family members, who at the time of the party were all 18 years old or younger. They stated that the alleged victim was extremely intoxicated after funneling between four and eight Twisted Tea drinks with Socciarelli.
An additional family member testified that he was sitting in a chair near Socciarelli when he watched him stick his hand inside the victim's pants and did nothing to stop him.
The family member who testified about the video testified that later she saw the 34-year-old Socciarelli, 33 at the time of the party, in the spare bedroom under a blanket with the 16-year-old who she thought was passed out.
“I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was looking for a beer,” the girl testified.
The three family members who testified were inconsistent on how much alcohol was consumed and how long Socciarelli was alone in a bedroom with the girl.
After the hard night of partying the alleged victim's family member pulled her aside.
“I told her she might have gotten raped,” said the family member. “He (Socciarelli) was acting weird, grabbing her butt, her crotch.”
According to the family member, at that point "she screamed 'I was raped' and grabbed a knife threatening to kill herself, I grabbed the knife from her and then (she) went into seizures."
Another family member, who was also the host of the party and in an intimate relationship with Socciarelli, then called 911.
Ontario County Court Judge Frederick Reed told the jury that he hopes to have the case in their hands before the end of the workday Friday.