October 22, 2021

Man accused of 2015 rape makes bail after arraignment

Kevin Conlon/City Editor

Defense attorney Luke Fenchel addresses Cortland County Judge Davic C. Alexander in Cortland County Court on as Fenchel’s client, Christopher C. Gillette looks on. Gillette is accused of a 2015 rape in the city of Cortland. He was released on bail after the court appearance in November of 2019.

A man accused of raping a woman in 2015 while she babysat his children was free on bail Tuesday after being arraigned in Cortland County Court.

Christopher C. Gillette, 36, homeless, was free on $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond after pleading not guilty to charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse, felonies; forcible touching and endangering of a child, misdemeanors.

Gillette, who appeared before Cortland County Judge David C. Alexander, was initially charged in October with second-degree strangulation and first-degree rape, felonies, at residence on Rickard Street in Cortland, police said. However, Cortland City Court Judge Elizabeth Burns ruled the prosecution provided insufficient evidence of a felony and dropped the charges.

District Attorney Patrick Perfetti said he would bring the case to a grand jury. The case goes to the grand jury Dec. 17, said defense attorney Luke Fenchel. Motion dates have been set for Dec. 27 with a response due Jan. 10.

The victim testified in October that sometime in April 2015, she was baby-sitting Gillette’s two daughters. She had taken some sleep medicine around 9 p.m. and fell asleep.

When she woke the next morning, she noticed marks around her neck resembling a hand and male fluids as she went to the bathroom, she testified. She never gave permission for sexual contact, and testified that besides Gillette and his daughters, nobody else was in the house.

She also said that she spoke with Gillette in late 2016 or early 2017 while he was in county jail where he apologized for hurting her.

Assistant District Attorney Jessica Weyant initially asked Alexander to order Gillette held without bail, but then requested $20,000 bail or $40,000 bond. Fenchel asked that Gillette be released without bail.

Alexander said Gillette has family living in McGraw in ordering the bail.