Rowayton photographer wants jury trial in sex assault case
Published 2:21 pm, Thursday, February 3, 2011
NORWALK -- The Rowayton photographer jailed for allegedly inappropriately touching a model at his home during a photo shoot says he wants to put the case before a jury.
Appearing at state Superior Court in Norwalk with his client, James Lipay, 62, Tuesday, defense attorney Michael Skiber asked for the case to be put on the jury list. Judge Bruce Hudock complied and scheduled March 4 to check back with Skiber and prosecutors to determine the status of the case.
No date for jury selection or trial has been scheduled.
After the short appearance, Skiber said prosecutors did not make Lipay a plea offer in the case and his client refuses to use the accelerated rehabilitation program, which allows first-time offenders probation and to have their charges expunged if the program is completed successfully.
"He is out to prove his innocence, and accelerated rehabilitation does not help prove that, even though he is eligible for the program," Skiber said.
Lipay, of 16 Juniper Road, was arrested in September after a model complained to police he touched her breasts and crotch during an August photo shoot at his Rowayton home.
Lipay was charged with fourth-degree sex assault and held for more than a week on $10,000 bond.
On Aug. 28, a 33-year-old Branford woman told police she was doing an unpaid test shoot at Lipay's home when he undid her bra and touched her breasts. The woman, who was trussed up with a red rope during the bondage photography session on Aug. 25, also said Lipay put his hand down her underwear.
The woman told police she felt "uncomfortable and violated" by his actions, according to a six-page arrest warrant affidavit. But the woman and a friend returned to Lipay's home on Aug. 28 to finish the shoot. The woman told police she got together with Lipay after he placed an ad on a website seeking models for a September photography workshop that would pay $200 for a day's work.
In the ad, Lipay called himself a fine art photographer.
Skiber said Lipay did not want to continue taking pictures of the woman or her friend because they were not attractive enough, and the woman went to police because she felt insulted.