Courtesy of Cheshire Police Department

Yale Hospitality General Manager 32-year-old Mark Lacy, who until this month headed the Pierson College dining hall, made his first court appearance Tuesday morning in the New Haven District Superior Court on the Green. On Feb. 1, Cheshire Police Department arrested Lacy at his home on Wallingford Road in neighboring Cheshire. He was arrested on charges of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree and strangulation in the second degree, among other charges. At Tuesday’s hearing, he pled not guilty to all the charges.

At the time of Lacy’s scheduled hearing, New Haven Superior Court Courtroom 6A was bustling with three police officers, several attorneys and over 20 additional members of the public.

Patrick Clifford, the sitting judge for the case, called out Lacy’s name near 11 a.m. An officer called in Lacy from a back holding room, and the accused appeared in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.

After Lacy submitted his plea, his attorney requested the judge to reconsider his client’s “excessively high bond” — Lacy’s bond is currently set for $1 million — at a hearing next week. But Clifford said he would be out on vacation all of next week, responding to the lawyer — “You can come and argue it in front of nobody.”

The parties involved eventually agreed to schedule Lacy’s next court hearing in two weeks on March 6. At the hearing, Lacy confirmed his awareness of a “protective order” — a civil order from a judge that restricts contact with the accuser — against him and promised to comply with it. Lacy is still in custody, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch website.

The New Haven Superior Court Clerk’s Office said on Tuesday that the case is continuing, so a summary of the case is not yet available in Lacy’s court file. The day after Lacy’s arrest, Cheshire Police Lt. Michael Durkee told the News on Feb. 2 that he could not give further details of the 911 call described to the police, referring to Connecticut State Statute 1-210 (b)(3), which provides exceptions to public access of records.

“The call is not releasable at this time because the investigation may be prejudiced by information in the call, and it may disclose the identity of a witness,” Durkee told the News on Feb 2.

The University has been made aware of the charges against Lacy, Yale spokesperson Tom Conroy told the News on Feb. 3. Conroy told the News that he did not have an additional comment on Tuesday’s court proceedings.

In the week following the incident, Lacy was still listed on the Yale Hospitality website as one of eight Yale Dining general managers and as a member of the management team of Pierson College. But Conroy told the News on Feb. 3 that Lacy will “not return to work until further notice.” As of Feb. 19, Lacy is no longer listed on the Yale Hospitality website and has been replaced by Kory Evasick as the Pierson dining hall general manager.

Yale Hospitality Associate Vice President Rafi Taherian is working with Pierson Head of College Stephen Davis to ensure that hospitality operations in the college are continuing to run smoothly, Conroy said on Tuesday.

Three members of Pierson’s dining staff told the News that they had no comment on the case. Davis also had no comment on Tuesday, deferring the News to the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.

According to a Cheshire Police Department report obtained by the News on Feb. 2, the arrest stemmed from an incident which was reported to have occurred at Lacy’s residence on Wallingford Road. The incident was reported to the Cheshire Police Department at 9:29 a.m. on Feb. 1. Following the incident, Lacy was arrested on charges of aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, assault in the third degree, strangulation in the second degree, threatening in the first degree, risk of injury to a child, unlawful restraint in the first degree and assault in the third degree.

Originally, Lacy was held on a $500,000 bond, and was scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on the morning of Feb. 4. But that same morning, Lacy’s bond was raised to $1,000,000 and was rescheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court instead.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Lacy has been working at Yale for over five years. He began as a dining manager in September 2013 and became a general manager in July 2016. He graduated from Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales University in 2012 and received his master’s in business administration from the same college in 2018.

Sammy Westfall | sammy.westfall@yale.edu