Man already facing rape charges now accused of assaulting woman


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ST. CROIX - An Estate Calquohoun man already on pre-trial release conditions set by the court in connection with rape charges is now charged with an assault on a woman in a domestic violence situation.

Joannes Francois, 21, was advised of his rights by Magistrate Jessica Gallivan on Monday morning after being arrested Sunday and charged with second-degree assault.

According to the police report, a woman told police that she and Francois were arguing at her home when he became very aggressive and punched her in her face.

The woman said that as the confrontation escalated, Francois grabbed her by her neck and pushed her face into a window, then slapped her and cupped both his hands around her neck and squeezed until she almost lost consciousness. Police said when Francois was found, he gave a statement and told police that he and the woman had been arguing and that she had punched him while they argued. He told police that he did not assault the woman or choke her by grabbing her neck, according to the court document.

At the time of the incident, Francois had been on pre-trial release stemming from an August 2012 incident in which he is charged with second-degree aggravated rape and unlawful sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl.

According to police, the girl told police she ran away from home and called Francois, with whom she had been having phone conversations for several weeks, and he came and picked her up.

The girl said he drove to the Salt River Beach area, where she said he told her to remove her clothes, and he had sexual intercourse with her inside his truck, according to the police report. The girl told police that she was afraid but did not resist Francois' advances because she did not want him to hurt her.

Under local law, no one younger than 18 can consent to having sexual intercourse.

Francois was released from jail on $50,000 bail in that case.

On Monday, Gallivan set bail on the new charges at $25,000 and said Francois would have to secure an additional custodian and post 20 percent of the bail amount before he could be released. He then would be placed on a 24-hour curfew while the case is pending, the judge ordered.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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