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Elderly man charged with sexual assault in New London

Published March 05. 2014 5:00PM   Updated March 05. 2014 7:21PM

An 83-year-old disabled man has been charged with sexually assaulting a mentally challenged woman on Dec. 15 at the George Washington Carver housing complex in New London.

Thomas A. Brooks, of 202 Colman St., Apt. 506 is being held in lieu of $150,000 at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Institution on a charge of first-degree sexual assault. Brooks, who is nearly blind and deaf and uses a cane, was provided with a hearing device and allowed to sit during his first appearance Wednesday in the New London court where major crimes are tried.

Several family members, including his daughter, watched from the gallery as Judge Hillary B. Strackbein appointed attorney Peter E. Scillieri from the public defender's office to represent Brooks. The judge entered a not guilty plea and ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, the alleged victim had known Brooks for a short time and visited his apartment about a week before the incident. She said she accepted $20 from him after he asked if she "could use some money." She said he started kissing her, and when he wouldn't stop, she stepped on his foot and left his apartment. She said he was much stronger during the Dec. 15 incident, when he knocked on her apartment door, woke her up and sexually assaulted her. She told her caseworker that Brooks was "digging his hands into her throat" during the incident. She said he left the apartment after telling her not to tell anyone what had happened.

Brooks, interviewed by police, said he asked for sex but did not force the alleged victim when she refused. He said he loaned the woman the $20 and that it was not money to pay for sex.

The police said they collected several items of evidence from the alleged crime scene and obtained a cheek swab from Brooks for DNA testing. The woman was treated and released from Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

Brooks is due back in court on March 24, when his attorney will begin discussing the case with Senior Assistant State's Attorney Theresa Anne Ferryman.

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