A Merrimac man was arrested at his home Monday evening for allegedly awakening a 74-year-old woman at knife point on July 3 and assaulting her repeatedly.

Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said William S. Raia, 50 entered the woman's home late in the evening and woke her up. After the attack the woman was able to escape from her house and call police from a neighbors home, according to Blodgett, who said the man was gone from the house when police arrived.

Raia was charged with 4 counts of aggravated rape, kidnapping, home invasion, strangulation and assault & battery causing bodily injury on an elderly person.

“While the suspect is in custody, this remains an active investigation. The entire team at the Merrimac Police Department worked diligently on this investigation since it was reported. I’m grateful for them as well as for the assistance of the Essex District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab and the Essex State Police Detective Unit,” Merrimac Police Chief Eric Shears said. “I also appreciate the continued support and patience of our community as we worked to identify and arrest the suspect.”

Shears and Blodgett did not disclose if Raia knew his victim.

Raia is expected to be arraigned in Newburyport District Court on Tuesday.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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