A Waterville man who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman after he threatened to staple electrical tape to her head made an initial appearance Tuesday in court via video from Kennebec County jail.

Eric Lachappelle, 33, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with gross sexual assault, a Class B felony, and domestic violence criminal threatening, a Class D misdemeanor, according to Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey.

Lachappelle appeared Tuesday in the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta before Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy, who told him the gross sexual assault charge carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison. She also said she would not accept a plea Tuesday because the charge is a felony.

Massey said Tuesday that police got a call around 12:30 p.m. Monday from a woman, 39, who reported she had been sexually assaulted Sunday night by a man with whom she lives.

Police went to the apartment on College Avenue, where the woman said Lachappelle had come home Sunday night under the influence of what she believed was drugs, and they got into an argument, according to Massey. He wanted to have sex and she refused, he said.

“He threatened her — he also had electrical tape and told her she needed to put the tape around her head and her mouth. Initially she refused and he told her if she didn’t do it he was going to staple it to her head,” Massey said.

Lachappelle was holding a staple gun, so the woman complied and he sexually assaulted her, Massey said.

The woman escaped through a window of the apartment Monday while Lachappelle was still there and she called police, according to Massey.

Officers went to the apartment and interviewed Lachappelle, who denied assaulting her, according to Massey.

Based on what she told officers and the physical evidence — the staple gun was found under the bed and her hair was found on the electrical tape — Lachappelle was arrested, the chief said.

Murphy on Tuesday set bail at $5,000 cash or $15,000 worth of property after attorney William Baghdoyan, serving as lawyer of the day, said Lachappelle believes a friend in Somerset County would post some real estate for his bail.

Murphy also required a Maine Pretrial Services supervision contract, as well as conditions prohibiting contact with the victim, and using and possessing alcohol and illegal drugs. Murphy also imposed a curfew of 8 p.m.-6 a.m.

She indicated that bail could be reviewed once a defense attorney is appointed to represent Lachappelle.

Lachappelle appeared to be upset at the end of the hearing and wiped his eyes with his hands. His next court date is Dec. 6.

He has a 2017 assault conviction, which Assistant District Attorney Alisa Ross said was domestic in nature and involved the same victim as the new charges.

Staff writer Betty Adams contributed to this report.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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