UMass student charged with rape

Thursday, February 01, 2018

BELCHERTOWN — A University of Massachusetts student from California pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he allegedly raped a fellow student in his dorm room in December.

Ryder Chilcoff, 21, of Villa Park, California, was ordered held on $7,500 cash bail after being arraigned in Eastern Hampshire District Court on three counts of rape, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

The Gazette generally does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

UMass Police began investigating the alleged incident on Dec. 19 after following up on a reported vandalism to Chilcoff’s dorm room door in John Quincy Adams Hall on campus. When police interviewed a woman whom they believed was possibly involved in the vandalism, she began crying and told officers she woke up on Dec. 9 in Chilcoff’s bed without any pants or underwear on and had no recollection of how she got there or what happened inside the room, according to a statement of facts written by Derek Napoli, a UMass police officer.

The woman told officers she had been drinking in the Sylvan residential area of campus on Dec. 8 and described herself as drunk. She did not remember leaving the area and the next thing she remembered was waking up in the dorm room on Dec. 9, according to Napoli’s report. She also told officers she felt that she had been taken advantage of and that she had sex.

When police interviewed Chilcoff, he initially told officers he met the woman at a party in Amherst and she came back to his room.

“After a short time, Chilcof stated ‘So I guess I just kinda made that part up. So just cross all that out. Sorry,’” Napoli wrote.

Chilcoff then told police he was watching a movie in his room with two friends when an unknown woman walked in, spoke to them and then left. The woman returned 30 minutes later, went to Chilcoff’s bed and fell asleep, according to court documents. Chilcoff told police the woman was answering questions incorrectly and at some point took his hands and began touching her body.

“Eventually Chilcoff ‘gave in’ and had sexual intercourse with the female … Chilcoff described the female as an active participant,” Napoli wrote.

Police interviewed both friends who Chilcoff said were watching the movie with him on Dec. 9. One told police that he told Chilcoff, “You can’t be doing this right now. This is a grey area,” and suggested getting help from a resident assistant. Chilcoff did not want to get anyone involved, according to Napoli’s report.

In court Tuesday, an attorney representing Chilcoff for the hearing said he “absolutely denies the allegations.”

“He denies the suggestion the alleged victim was too drunk to consent,” attorney Jonah Goldmsith said.

Judge Maureen Walsh ordered Chilcoff held on $7,500 bail and to surrender his passport, abide by UMass rules, have no contact with the alleged victim and sign a waiver of rendition.

He is scheduled to return to court March 1.

Emily Cutts can be reached at ecutts@gazettenet.com.