Jury convicts Montco lawyer of raping unconscious client

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Vincent A. Cirillo Jr. could face years in state prison for his conviction on rape and sexual assault charges. Assistant District Attorney M. Stewart Ryan said he would seek a lengthy jail sentence.

A longtime Montgomery County defense lawyer was convicted Wednesday of raping a 22-year-old client while she was unconscious.

Vincent A. Cirillo Jr. showed little reaction as a jury of six men and six women announced its verdict after six hours of deliberation and a trial that included several days of graphic testimony. 

Cirillo, 57,  the son of a late Superior Court judge, turned to his wife and daughter, seated in the front row of the courtroom, and raised his eyebrows before leaving the courtroom.

“It’s unfortunate,” he told reporters as he was led away in handcuffs.

The verdict means Cirillo could serve a potentially much longer sentence than one he faced after initially pleading guilty to a single charge of rape. He withdrew the plea on the day he was scheduled for sentencing, and instead opted for a trial.  

But after the jury found Cirillo guilty on multiple counts, Assistant District Attorney M. Stewart Ryan said he would seek lengthy consecutive prison sentences for the crimes.

Cirillo insisted that his sexual interaction with the woman at her West Norriton home in 2015 was consensual, and testified for several hours this week in graphic detail and attempting to reconcile differences in his previous statements about the allegations.

Prosecutors said he raped her while she was passed out, after he went to her home one night to discuss legal matters and stayed to socialize and drink.

Prosecutors said the woman was too intoxicated to consent to any of the sexual activity and could not remember what happened. In a conversation between the woman and Cirillo, secretly recorded by detectives days after the alleged rape, he told her they had sex that night. 

Cirillo insisted that the woman had told her she wanted him to come to her bedroom and stay on the night in question. He testified that they did not have intercourse, because "she fell asleep on me" after a consensual sexual interaction. He claimed that his statements to her in the recording about having sex were lies, because he had not wanted to disappoint her.

After the verdict, Cirillo's defense lawyer, Nino Tinari, called the trial a tragedy for both the victim’s family and Cirillo’s family. He declined to speculate whether in hindsight, Cirillo should not have withdrawn his guilty plea.

“He gave his rendition of what happened,” Tinari said. “I think that was important to him.”

Also at trial, jurors saw cellphone photographs that Cirillo took of the woman while she was passed out that night, and photographs that her then-boyfriend took to document how he found her that night, too intoxicated to move. Other witnesses who testified included the woman, her father, her boyfriend, and her father's girlfriend.

“The most important thing was the fact that the victim was able to stand up and speak the truth in court,” said Ryan.

Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who will sentence Cirillo later, ordered him held without bail. He lost his law license in November, and has been jailed since his arrest on separate charges, for allegedly impersonating his accuser’s lawyer to obtain confidential records. That case is  pending.

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