December 1, 2021

2015 Cortland rape case ready to go to trial

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.

The prosecution and defense both said Tuesday in Cortland County Court that they are ready to bring to trial a case involving a man accused of raping a woman in 2015 while she babysat his children as the two sides could not reach a plea agreement.

Christopher C. Gillette, 36, was arrested in October 2019 following an investigation by Cortland police and charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse, felonies; forcible touching, endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanors.

He was initially charged with first-degree rape and second-degree strangulation, felonies, but those charges were dropped after Cortland City Judge Elizabeth Burns ruled there was insufficient evidence.

Defense attorney Luke Fenchel and District Attorney Patrick Perfetti both said, upon Judge David C. Alexander’s asking, that they were ready to bring the case to a grand jury trial as a plea agreement could not be reached.

Conviction on first-degree rape can bring a sentence of five to 25 years in prison.

No date was scheduled Tuesday for Gillette’s next appearance.

Gillette remains free after making bail in November.

The victim testified in October that 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 she spoke with Gillette in late 2016 or early 2017 while he was in county jail, where he apologized for hurting her.