LOWELL -- Police are probing four stalking incidents during the past month in which a man wearing black clothing and a black ski mask, followed women from a Dracut gym, and in one case, sexually assaulted a woman outside her Lowell home.
Bryant Tuff, 19, a former Dracut High football star, is charged in one of the assaults and is held without bail.
Tuff is charged with assault with intent to rape and assault and battery for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in her 20s outside her Ennell Street home in Lowell on Feb. 26.
He is a suspect in the other three stalking incidents, though he has not been charged.
During a dangerousness hearing that began Friday in Lowell District Court, Lowell police Lt. Detective Thomas Hultgren testified there have been four reports from women of a man with dark curly hair and wearing dark clothing who focuses on women who have either left the gym or are in the vicinity of the gym. The incidents, on Feb. 2, Feb. 25, Feb. 26, and March 5, usually occurred late at night.
In all the incidents, the man used a car to follow the women to their destination, donning a dark ski mask, or in one case a bandana, then approached their cars after the women had parked. In three of the instances, the women locked their doors and called for help when the man approached their vehicles.
But in surprise testimony during Friday's hearing, Tuff's brother, Marquise Tuff, testified that from noon until midnight on Feb. 26 he and Bryant were smoking pot, snacking and playing video games together. Bryant never left the house, his brother testified.
When questioned about how much marijuana he smoked, Marquise Tuff testified, "I basically stayed high the whole day."
Christine Bubanas, Tuff's grandmother, testified she was home all night and checked on the teens playing video games in Bryant's bedroom.
"I do it all the time because they are teenagers,'' she testified.
One of the stalker's victims identified Tuff after his arrest as a former schoolmate from Dracut High School, where he was a Division 2 Merrimack Valley Conference all-star in 2012. He was part of the crowd she hung around with in school, she said.
One person was able to identify a car the stalker was driving as a silver Toyota, and a license plate that Hultgren testified was on a rental car rented by Tuff's grandmother. Another car was his family's Volkswagen Passat that had damage to the driver's-side door.
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 across the street, Hultgren testified. She fought off her attacker by hitting him with her lunch bag and poking him in the eye, Hultgren said.
Lowell police Detective Tracy Kelly testified that Tuff's probation officer told her that shortly after the incident, Tuff checked in with probation. The officer noted that Tuff's right eye was so watery that he asked what was wrong with his eye. Tuff responded that he didn't know that it was watery.
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 dangerousness hearing is scheduled to continue on Tuesday. Until then, Tuff remains held without bail.
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