A Look at How an Adoring Media--And one Pissed-off Girl--Saw Gary Zerola: the Last 7 years
''To be honest, I was shocked to see the preppy style coming back, but I'm into it. I wear the clothes, but I put my own spin on it. I think my look is more urban, less country club."
--Gary Zerola, accused teen rapist in the Boston Globe story, "Pink and Green and Worn all Over: The return of the preppy look"
Former 'Most Eligible Bachelor' and attorney Gary Zerola's trial for rape starts tomorrow.
A look at Gary Zerola: how others saw him in the media, before his sensationalized first arrest for rape, and his subsequent rape charges after being released on bail.
We'll begin with this story 2 1/2 years ago in the Boston Globe, which described Gary Zerola thus:
"Gary Zerola, 34, an attorney and self-proclaimed fashion zealot from Boston, said he reads Italian fashion magazines to bone up on the latest trends. From the August 18, 2005 Boston Globe story on fashion styles.
Considerably different than the tagline now seen accompanying any news of the Boston attorney. The ever-present new tagline would read something like:
"Ex-Most Eligible Bachelor, attorney, fugitive from justice
and accused multiple teen rapist"
and accused multiple teen rapist"
Zerola certainly had his fans--and not all were teen-age females.
Shortly after his first charges were made against the Boston attorney and the news appeared in the papers, someone wrote the following to the editor of the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly with the heading of "Gary Zerola Deserves Better".
To the editor:
I am writing to express my dismay at a recent item published by Lawyers Weekly detailing the unfortunate allegations that a woman made against attorney Gary Zerola ("Boston defense lawyer arraigned on sexual assault charges," Sept. 18).
Lawyers Weekly has always been dedicated to keeping lawyers appraised of the developments in the law and the accomplishments of the Massachusetts...
To read the rest of the letter, one must subscribe to the publication and we weren't that interested in hearing what sounded like one lawyer defending another in the early stages of what was to become a burgeoning, very-public crime career.
Zerola was proficient in more than just one venue. It appears he was just as persuasive at the bar as he was at the bar scene.
From an early 2007 Salem News story:
Alfie Troche knew the odds were against him when he and his lawyer set out to convince a jury that he never would have had a kilogram of cocaine in the trunk of his car if he hadn't been entrapped by an informant.
But when the Salem Superior Court jury decided yesterday that they believed him - and found him not guilty of cocaine trafficking - Troche, 35, was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared the afternoon before, while jurors were deliberating.
And because of that, Troche could end up exactly where he didn't want to be - in state prison - for up to five years.
Troche showed up at the courthouse yesterday just before 4 p.m., about six hours after the jury's verdict, and was promptly taken into custody on a new charge of failing to appear during a felony trial. He will be arraigned on the charge this morning in Salem District Court.
Troche's lawyer, Gary Zerola, told a judge Troche suffered a panic attack and a momentary lapse of reason - then downed four mood-stabilizer pills, walked almost all the way to Gloucester and passed out in the back of a car until about 2 p.m.
Zerola told Judge Thomas Billings that Troche mistakenly believed he had been convicted. He urged the judge to send Troche on his way.
Zerola was more than vocal when the above-named client was judged innocent. According to the reporter, "[j]ust hours earlier, Zerola had pumped his fist in victory as the jury forewoman read the verdict."
The new stories were sympathethic to the attorney with the "dark, brooding looks" (AP)
This comment affixed to a Florida International University Beacon remembered Gary much differently.
I Know GaryOf course, anyone who reads Mainstream Media newspapers know what they think of citizen journalism in general, and blogs in particular.
Gary Zerola raped two friends of mine about 9 years ago. The last thing they remember was Gary buying them drinks at West St. Bar. They woke up naked next to Gary in the morning. Gary made sure he put enough drugs in their drinks so they wouldn't remember how they got there. They do know that they were raped. Neither of them had ever blacked out before in their lives. Read the blogs on Gary Zerola.... other's have similar stories.
So the MSM wasn't blowing any whistles.
* Gary Zerola: Most Eligible Bachelor Rape Trial Starts Tomorrow
* Gary Zerola: Acquitted in 2nd Rape Charge Trial
* Boston Lawyer Faces Teen Rape Charges: Former People Magazine “Eligible Bachelor”
* Gary Zerola Rape Trial: Courtroom Scorecard
According to Gary Zerola.com:
A highly regarded speaker at the state and national levels, Mr. Zerola's extensive speaking engagements include lectures for various public and private foster care organizations. In addition, Mr. Zerola been a legal commentator on New England Cable News and has appeared on the nationally syndicated television shows Power of Attorney and Judge Hatchett. Mr. Zerola's law practice and high-profile clients have been highlighted in several news articles and feature stories.
Also according to the site:
"Attorney Zerola is not accepting new clients at this time."
At the same website, if one clicks on "Criminal Profile", a blank page is displayed.
If one is looking for information on the site for "Sexual Assault Crimes", the following information can be found at Gary Zerola.com.
When a person participates in a sex act that is illegal, he/she can be charged with committing a sex crime. In Massachusetts, all sex crimes are taken very seriously and are also subject to vigorous investigations by law enforcement. Any person that is accused of committing a sex crime faces aggressive prosecution by state district attorneys. Even if the person that is accused is innocent, has done nothing wrong, and has never been accused of any crime before, he/she will face negative stereotyping, will be unfairly named and persecuted in the media - essentially handing down a social sentence even if no conviction ever results, and stressful day-to-day interactions with friends, family, neighbors, and peers.And further:
Once you have been charged with a sex crime in Boston or anywhere else in Massachusetts, you need to immediately retain the services of a professional, experienced criminal defense attorney who has a successful track record when it comes to fighting sexually related charges in the state of Massachusetts. When you face such life-altering legal consequences, you cannot risk being without reliable, aggressive legal representation.
Gary did have his fans.
On Mindsay (a MySpace-type site) Charisma P wrote in September 8, 2003:
Charisma P.: Hey Ann! What happened to Gary Zerola? He used to be up there! He's the sweetest guy. Please put him back on the list! He deserves to be on it!Ann Stewart: Dear Charisma, I do want Gary back too. I so admire him and his family for the wonderful work they do for “One For The Kids.” It would be an honor to have Gary on this site. Gary, I just want to let you know somebody loves you.Gary responded in November of the same year with "Just wanted to say, I'm flattered.Remember One for the Kids 6 is Thursday, December 4th at 5:30 at Club venu on Warrenton Street in Beantown, USA.Regards, Gary Z."
AOL Visitors Guide asked the question: "Are you ready to see what Zerola Gary Boston, MA has to offer?"
Zerola was also described as "People magazine's list of America's "Most Eligible Bachelors" and a tryout for the TV reality show "The Bachelor."
Zerola's trials start tomorrow.
He awaits back-to-back trials beginning Tuesday in Boston on charges he attacked two 19-year-olds in 2004 and 2006. He also faces charges in Florida, where authorities say he force-fed drugs to an 18-year-old woman, then raped her in a Miami Beach hotel in October while free on bail in the Massachusetts assaults.
Prosecutors say Zerola met all three women in bars, charmed them, then attacked them when they refused to have sex. In the 2006 case, he allegedly took the woman shopping at Neiman Marcus, where he bought her a $700 dress and $250 shoes before trying to rape her in his Boston apartment.
"He spent some time grooming these girls," prosecutor Suzanne Kontz said during a hearing in November.
Zerola is free on $100,000 bail. He and his attorney, Janice Bassil, did not return calls seeking comment.
The Gary Zerola described by prosecutors is far different from the man friends say dedicated himself to helping children.
The youngest of seven children, Zerola was placed in foster care at age 3 after his parents split up and his mother became ill. Over the next decade, he was shuffled among a dozen foster families until he was placed permanently with a suburban Boston lawyer and his wife.
Zerola, 36, attended Suffolk University, where he earned degrees in law and public administration. He delivered his law school commencement address.
"He was bright and articulate," said John E. Fenton Jr., one of Zerola's law professors. "I don't remember what he spoke about, but I can tell you he gave an excellent speech."
He worked as a state prosecutor on child abuse and domestic violence cases and became well-known in philanthropic circles as an advocate for foster children. He started a volunteer group that raised money to buy clothing and gifts for foster kids.
Zerola was regularly mentioned in newspaper gossip columns and fetched an $800 bid in a charity dating auction. In 2001, at age 29, Zerola was named one of People's 50 most eligible bachelors.
That information seems to be always included in any Gary Zerola stories.
And this chilling self-fulfilling prophetic quote from 2001 from his People profile, when he spoke of his troubled youth.
"Statistically speaking, I should be in debt or in jail
because of the upbringing I had."
In 2000, Zerola opened his own law practice as a criminal defense attorney. His clients included drug dealers and rape defendants. In court, he was known for his well-tailored suits, flashy style and the frequent compliments he paid female court employees.
"It's a rare instance that you see a kid who has been through as many foster family situations as Gary who was able to rise above all of that, not to get into trouble as a kid, not to turn to substance abuse, but to go to college and then to go on and become a lawyer," said Michael Natola, a Boston defense attorney who is a close friend.
"He never, ever forgot his experiences as a child and as a young man, and he always wanted to make it easier for kids who were in similar situations as he was."
In the 2004 case, Zerola stands accused of repeatedly raping a woman in his apartment.
In 2006, a woman told police that after the two went out on their first date, she went back to his apartment to use the bathroom. She said that after she turned down Zerola's sexual advances, he ripped off her dress and underwear, slammed her head against the wall and refused to let her leave.
The woman dialed 911 on her cell phone and police tracked the call to Zerola's apartment using a GPS system.
While awaiting trial in those two attacks, Zerola violated the conditions of his bail and flew to Florida this past fall to see the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins.
A woman told police she had several drinks with Zerola at a club, then went to his hotel room, where Zerola stuffed pills down her throat. The woman, who told police she was a virgin, said she awoke naked and bleeding in bed beside Zerola.
Zerola told police, "I never had sex with her." He would not submit to a DNA test, prosecutors said.
Zerola's law license has been suspended. On his Web site, where he is described as a "highly regarded speaker" and legal commentator who has appeared on TV's "Power of Attorney" and "Judge Hatchett," there is now a message noting that he is not accepting new clients or practicing law.
But Suzanne Kontz, who is prosecuting Zerola for the rape and attempted rape of two 19-year-old women in 2004 and 2006, painted a sinister picture of the high-cheekboned criminal defense attorney ABC once wooed to star in “The Bachelor”: that of a predator who grooms victims before he gropes them.
Zerola's trial begins tomorrow and interest in the one-time Most Eligible Bachelor will begin to peak.
Gary Zerola should be thankful that he's charged in America for his crimes and not some foreign country--say Saudi Arabia.
As a member of the Saudi-American Exchange Program, he presented a topic at their 2003 International Academy of Business Disciplines, where his topic was listed as
5. "The Challenges of Telling the Saudi Story on The Today Show: Reality in an Era of Soundbytes" Gary Zerola, attorney and member of the Saudi American Exchange Program, Boston Skye Schulte, Tufts University.
One wonders how Zerola would have fared in Saudi Arabia.
Conviction for rape is much harder in the Saudi system, but the penalties are much more severe.
Here in America, though, for Gary Zerola, the words to remember going into tomorrow's trial are still
"Innocent until proven guilty"
* Eligible Bachelor Accused of Rapes
* What's pink and green and worn all over
* Gary Zerola Deserves Better
* Suspect Beats the Rap--and then is arrested Again for Fleeing
* Editorial: Rape- Take Precautions, No One is Immune
* Saudi American Exchange Program
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.