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Assistant fire chief accused of raping LGBT woman who was found half-dressed on his lawn

Harold Clarke Sr.

Daniel Tepfer
New Haven Register, Conn.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations this afternoon in the trial of former city assistant fire chief Harold Clarke Sr. accused of beating and raping a woman in his home in 2022.

The 34-year-veteran of the fire department is charged with one count of aggravated first-degree sexual assault.

During the week-long trial, before a six-member jury and Superior Court Judge Robin Pavia, the complainant, a military veteran who was wounded in Operation Desert Storm, testified that on the evening of Feb. 16, 2022, she had run into Clarke, a family friend, at a city bar.

She testified she was concerned Clarke was intoxicated and, when he refused to relinquish his car keys, she offered to follow him home.

When they got to his home, she testified Clarke invited her inside and gave her a glass of water. But soon after drinking the water, the woman said she became disoriented and unable to stand.

At that point, she said other unidentified men came to Clarke’s home and the three of them repeatedly beat and raped the woman.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Edward Lee Miller showed the jury photographs showing numerous bruises on the woman’s face, body and limbs. Photos shown the jury revealed that Clarke also had bruises on him consistent with the victim’s claims that she had attempted to fight him off her.

The woman’s partner testified she went to Clarke’s home looking for the woman and found her lying partially dressed on his front lawn. She said she took the woman to the hospital.

A state DNA expert testified Clarke’s DNA was recovered from the woman.

Under questioning by his lawyer, Christopher Cerami, Clarke testified that he and the woman has consensual sex and that he had tried to calm her after she became violent afterwards.

Both sides were to present their final arguments to the jury this morning followed by an instruction to the jury on the law by the judge.

The jury was then to begin deliberations in the case.


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