standing Robert Ritacco

Robert Ritacco | Sun file photo

WAKEFIELD — The sexual assault case against former longtime Westerly Democratic Town Committee Chairman Robert Ritacco remains in a pretrial phase with the next conference not scheduled until May.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys met earlier this month for a pretrial conference, but the matter was continued until May 3 without any court action, according to court documents. Ritacco was not required to appear before a judge during the latest hearing, officials said.

The 52-year-old Ritacco was indicted by a Rhode Island grand jury in April 2022 and arraigned on two counts of first-degree sexual assault. He has been accused of committing two separate sexual acts against a woman during a period in which she was allegedly helpless on May 29, 2021.

The charges were the result of a Rhode Island State Police investigation that led to the grand jury indictment. Ritacco has entered a not guilty plea on both charges.

Ritacco has remained out on recognizance after posting a $20,000 bond following his arrest, according to court records. Ritacco has also been issued a no-contact order barring him from contact with the alleged victim.

The case was initially scheduled to have a pretrial conference on Feb. 3, but the date was reset by the court and rescheduled for May 3, officials said.

Prior to his arrest, Ritacco had served as the chairman of the Westerly Democratic Town Committee for more than 20 years. He also served a long stint as chairman of the Westerly Zoning Board of Review, one term on the Town Council and has frequently served on other town boards and committees.

Due to the nature of the charges, prosecutors were required to obtain an indictment from a sitting grand jury to show probable cause to take the case to trial. If the case does go to trial, a jury or judge will determine Ritacco's guilt or innocence.

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