New Britain sex assault suspect faces judge - WFSB 3 Connecticut

New Britain sex assault suspect faces judge

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Joel St. Peter. (New Britain police photo) Joel St. Peter. (New Britain police photo)
(New Britain police photo) (New Britain police photo)
NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -

A man accused of sexually assaulting and kidnapping a woman in New Britain last month faced a judge on Monday.

Police said Joel St. Peter, 24, of Maine, was arrested on Friday after police released surveillance photos of him.

They said the crime happened on Oct. 21 just before 7:30 p.m. in the area of Main and Lafayette streets.

Security footage from local businesses showed images of a suspect in the area at that time.

Officers said St. Peter's identification was the direct result of the public's assistance.

They said he was arrested on Russell Street. He has family in New Britain.

His cousin told Eyewitness News that St. Peter has been mentally disabled for most of his life but they are still in disbelief over the charges.

"He's not well and he was going to a psychiatrist, counseling and all of that," said Michelle LaRochelle, who is St. Peter's cousin.

Relatives said he moved to New Britain from Maine after his father died and was only in the city for a few months.

They said he frequently attended a mental health facility on Russell Street and was there when he was arrested.

"There was a bus that would come and get him and bring him there and drop him back home," LaRochelle said.

St. Peter was charged with first-degree sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping. He was being held on a $400,000 court-set bond.

Some wanted to know what took New Britain police more than one week to release the surveillance photos, but officials said they were still collecting evidence and were worried that putting those pictures out may have caused him to run.

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