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Falls man’s comments may hurt his defense in rape case

LOCKPORT – A Niagara Falls policeman testified in a pretrial hearing Friday that a rape suspect made a noteworthy comment when the officer encountered him last year.

Officer Michael Badolato said he was sent to the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in the early hours of Feb. 4, after hotel security found a woman hiding in a restroom. She said she had been raped in a room on the fifth floor.

Badolato took an elevator to the fifth floor and when the doors opened, he found Timothy J. Drylewski, 23, of 21st Street in the Falls, who matched the description of the suspect.

Badolato said when Drylewski saw him, the suspect asked, “What is wrong? Did (the woman) say I raped her?”

That’s exactly what she said, leading to an indictment accusing Drylewski of first-degree rape. Badolato said he handcuffed Drylewski, pulled out his cellphone and snapped a photo, which he then showed to the woman waiting downstairs. She identified the man in the photo as the attacker.

“I did not want to bring him in front of her and make her more upset,” Badolato testified.

The hearing before Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon on the admissibility of Drylewski’s statements to police is to continue Wednesday, with the playing of a videotape of his 25-minute interview with Falls Detective Lorrie Alvarez.