LOWELL -- A former Dracut High football player is accused of sexually assaulting a woman whom police say he followed from a gym.
Bryant Tuff, who lists addresses in Lowell and Dracut, pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with intent to rape and assault and battery. He is being held pending Friday's dangerousness hearing, according to the clerk's office.
Prosecutor Rachel Perlman said Lowell police allege that on Feb. 26, a Lowell woman left a Dracut gym, drove to her house in Lowell, parked across the street, then sat in her car texting.
The woman saw a man approach her car so she locked her doors. After waiting a while, the woman got out of her car, heard a sound and a man, wearing a bandanna over half his face, knocked her down, pulled her pants and underwear down, then grabbed her ankles and tried to drag her into a secluded area, Perlman said. She fought off her attacker, Perlman said.
A witness told police about a "blood-curdling scream," and of seeing a gold-colored van in the area, Perlman said. Police located a "similar" car, rented to Tuff's mother, Perlman said. Tuff's family members told police that Tuff had access to the vehicle, Perlman said.
Perlman said two other women have been followed home from the same gym, though in a different car, she said.
The alleged victim could not identify her attacker in a photo array. Defense attorney Robert Normandin asked that his client's face not be shown in court during arraignment.
Normandin said there is "no probable cause'' that Tuff is involved. The description of the attacker does not fit Tuff, he said. Tuff had no eye injury, Normandin said. Normandin said Tuff's grandparents and mother, who were in court, stand behind him.
Tuff was a Division 2 Merrimack Valley Conference all-star in 2012, scoring eight touchdowns including two on Thanksgiving Day.
Tuff has been arrested twice before, in 2012 on charges of assault and battery, defacing property and disturbing the peace, and in 2013 on charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime for a felony. The dispositions of those cases are unknown.
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