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Ex-GSE Student Acquitted of Rape

By Jenifer L. Steinhardt, Crimson Staff Writer

A Graduate School of Education (GSE) student arrested in January 2002 for allegedly raping a classmate was acquitted earlier this month.

Giorgi Zedginidze, 35, was found not guilty on charges that he pulled a female resident of his Child Hall dorm into his room against her will and proceeded to rape her.

Edward W. Wayland, Zedginidze’s attorney, said that he argued at the four-and-a-half day trial, which began Aug. 27, that the sexual encounter was consensual.

“He denied that any force had been used,” Wayland said.

Because the case involved sexual assault, the alleged victim’s name was not made public.

According to court documents, the alleged victim told a Grand Jury that she knew Zedginidze from school and went out with him on two occasions about a month before the incident—once for dinner, once for tea.

The woman told the Grand Jury that Zedginidze “pretty much pulled” her into his Child Hall room on January 30, 2002 and, despite her protests, kissed, fondled, undressed and made sexual contact with her.

The alleged victim testified at the trial, but a transcript was unavailable. Wayland said Zedginidze did not testify in his defense.

Wayland speculated that inaccuracies in the alleged victim’s testimony regarding the nature of her relationship with Zedginidze before the incident led to the jury’s not guilty verdict on all six counts of rape and assault.

Two spokespeople and the prosecuting attorney at the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office declined to comment on the specifics of the trial.

“We’re disappointed in the verdict but confident the jury considered all of the evidence and facts presented,” spokesperson Seth I. Horowitz said.

Zedginidze also declined comment this week.

Court documents indicate that two Harvard University Police Department officers testified during the trial, but a department spokesperson declined comment.

According to Wayland, Zedginidze withdrew from Harvard upon the University’s recommendation after his arrest a year and half ago and has no current plans to return.

Wayland said his client, a native of the Republic of Georgia, spent about five weeks in jail after his arrest before posting bail.

—Staff writer Jenifer L. Steinhardt can be reached at steinhar@thecrimson.com.

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