Nashua man acquitted of assaulting girl


NASHUA - A city man was cleared Tuesday on charges that he sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl five years ago. Michael Lanzara, 25, of 340 Broad St., faced a single charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault and a lesser alternative charge of felonious sexual assault but was acquitted on both after trial in Hillsborough County Superior Court, court records show. Lanzara had been free on personal recognizance bail since his indictment last year. He had been accused of forcibly sexually assaulting the younger sister of a friend while visiting at the family's home during the summer of 2003. The girl told her mother of the alleged assault in 2005, but it wasn't reported to police until after she told her brother in 2006, lawyers said. The trial was short. Jurors heard testimony in the case Tuesday morning, closing arguments after lunch and returned their "not guilty" verdicts after little more than an hour of deliberation. Lanzara's lawyer, Frank Holland of Nashua, argued that changes in various details of the girl's account of the assault over the years showed that she made it up. Holland argued the girl made up the assault allegation to deflect attention after her mother learned that she had become sexually active with a boyfriend and then felt compelled to stick to her story because she enjoyed the attention. The prosecutor, Assistant County Attorney Kent Smith, argued that no one would put themselves through the ordeal of a trial for such trivial reasons. "Did it look to anybody like she was having fun up there?" Smith asked jurors, gesturing toward the witness stand. "Did it look as though she was enjoying herself?"
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