At the New Haven Superior Court on Wednesday, Mark Lacy — a Yale Hospitality general manager facing charges of aggravated sexual assault and threatening — was granted a lower bond. After Lacy’s attorney told the court that the complainant had “clarified and recanted” original statements to the police and wants him out of jail, the case judge lowered Lacy’s bond from $1 million to $300,000.
According to Lacy’s case file in the New Haven Superior Court Clerk’s Office, the complainant — Lacy’s wife — said that she was forced to engage in sexual intercourse with Lacy on the morning of Feb. 1 in their Cheshire home.
The complainant stated in the case report that after calling her to ask her to return home, Lacy entered a bedroom with her and “refused to let her leave.” She said that Lacy threatened her with a “black automatic handgun” as well as a “black handled silver bladed kitchen knife” and began to assault her. According to the report, Lacy’s wife tried to escape during the alleged assault but was punched in the head several times.
On Wednesday, there were at least 22 people sitting in courtroom 6-A of the New Haven Superior Court — including two Yale undergraduate students, two guards and Lacy’s wife, the complainant in the case. Lacy first appeared in court to plead not guilty to the charges leveled against him on Feb. 19.
At the March 6 hearing, Lacy’s attorney Jack O’Donnell argued before Superior Court Judge Patrick Clifford that Lacy’s bond — which had then stood at $1 million — be reduced to $50,000. He cited the fact that Lacy did not have a prior criminal record and that he had been “amply” employed at a “responsible” job at Yale University for the past five years.
O’Donnell noted that the “cornerstone” of the argument for a lower bond was that the victim herself would like him to be released. He said that the victim has clarified and recanted some of her original statements — including allegations that he had touched her head. O’Donnell said that if he had touched her head, severe injuries would have been left. Instead, O’Donnell noted, the victim only had visible red marks on her wrists and a “slight red mark” on her neck.
In Lacy’s case file, Cheshire police officer Gretchen Ovesny described that “[the complainant] had red marks on her neck and collarbone area, where she said Mark had held her. [Ovesny] also observed [the complainant’s] right wrist which was swollen and had red marks around it, consistent with being restrained.”
Additionally, O’Donnell asserted that the complainant wants Lacy released so that he can access “the mental health treatment he desperately needs.”
In rebuttal, Assistant State’s Attorney Karen Roberg pointed out that “the state has safety concerns” for Lacy’s wife, children and the community. The state representative noted that while the victim recanted some original statements, she also confirmed that “violence did occur” — including the confirmed involvement of “firearms and knives.” Additionally, the representative noted that a 5-year-old child was present at Lacy’s home during the incident.
Roberg pointed out that Lacy’s wife confirmed that she did say, “If I have sex with you, will you let me go?” However, O’Donnell argued that the victim had said that she “would have been able to walk out” if she wanted to.
O’Donnell told the News after the hearing that he could not comment, per the request of his client.
Following the hearing, Roberg confirmed to the News that she met with the complainant and that the complainant had indicated that the sexual intercourse was “consensual.”
Clifford lowered Lacy’s bond from $1 million to $300,000. The judge pointed out that even if Lacy were to be released, he would still be held by full protective orders — civil orders from a judge that restricts contact with the accuser. Lacy would not be able to be in contact with his wife and children except for one occasion where he could enter the home to retrieve his belongings — accompanied by the police.
“It is a new case. There are things to look into,” Clifford said, pointing out that the bond could potentially move again in the future.
After O’Donnell raised concerns about his client’s competency to stand trial. Clifford noted that Lacy looked emotional during the hearing and put in a request for his examination. According to Connecticut state law, the examination is to be carried out by one or more physicians appointed by the Superior Court or the commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Service. Lacy will next appear in court April 10.
As of Feb. 19, Lacy was no longer listed on the Yale Hospitality website and was replaced as Pierson College’s dining hall manager by Kory Evasick. Three members of Pierson’s dining staff told the News that they had no comment on the case.
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 he was rescheduled to appear in New Haven Superior Court instead.
A spokesperson from the New Haven City Clerk’s Office told the News that an increase in bond is an independent decision made by a judge, but could not comment on case specifics or provide legal analysis.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Lacy has been working at Yale for five years and seven months. He began as a dining manager in September 2013 and became a general manager in July 2016. He graduated from Rhode Island’s Johnson and Wales University in 2012 and received his master’s degree in business administration from the same college in 2018.
Sammy Westfall | firstname.lastname@example.org