I am presently conducting an investigation into the former managing editor of the Niagara Falls Reporter, Nicholas D’Angelo. I own the Niagara Falls Reporter.
This is Part 2 of this investigative series.
Nick is a lawyer and was accused two weeks ago by a former client, a woman whose first name is Noelle, who alleges he raped her in his law office in late October or early November 2019. She filed a civil lawsuit against him10 months later.
Not only did Nick rape her, Noelle alleges, but, according to the complaint, Nick gave Noelle “a sexually transmitted disease – herpes – when he raped her.”
One week after Nicolle filed the civil suit, she filed a criminal complaint against Nick. New York State Police are investigating. No criminal charges have been filed and none may be filed since there is likely no evidence of a rape that supposedly occurred some 10 months before the criminal complaint was filed.
Nick denies Noelle’s charges and claims she is doing this for money. In a demand letter written by her attorney, Lindy Korn, prior to the lawsuit, Noelle asked for $425,000 from Nick and, in return, promised to sign a non-disparagement as part of a quiet “amicable” resolution.
Nick declined to settle and was sued, which resulted in enormous publicity in the local community and the destruction of his reputation. Nick was placed on unpaid leave at his job for Niagara County Social Services [$45,000 salary plus health insurance] and stepped down from his position at the Niagara Falls Reporter.
Noelle’s attorney, Korn, declined to comment other than to refer this writer to the allegations contained in the complaint.
Nick Had Prior Felony Rape Charge
A big part of the presumption of guilt against Nick, 27 – which is widespread throughout Niagara Falls NY – is that he had faced prior charges long before he was accused of raping Noelle in 2019.
True enough, back when he was 16, Nick was accused of raping a 14-year-old under a stairwell at Niagara Falls High School.
In the 2009 case, Nick was charged with felony rape after the teen girl alleged he forced himself on her.
Nick denied he was guilty at the time , just as he now denies that he ever raped Nicole.
In the 2009 alleged rape, a forensic examination of the girl suggested she was not raped.
A lawyer of Nick’s, Richard Saraf, provided a copy of the medical examination of the teen girl which shows that the rape tests resulted in negative findings. The tests were made on the day of the alleged rape in October 2009.
With the forensic examination showing no evidence of rape, Nick was offered a plea deal to a misdemeanor sexual misconduct charge and the felony rape charge was dropped.
While Nick professed innocence, he accepted the plea deal – and avoided going to trial and paying over $40,000 in attorney fees. He admitted in court to having consensual sex with the girl. Because they were both under the age of consent, as part of the plea deal, he was afforded youthful offender status and a sealed record – which means that Nick has no criminal record. It was stated on the record that the sexual misconduct with the high school girl was due to age, not force.
As he fends off the present allegation of raping Noelle, he is confronted with the past felony rape allegation and his misdemeanor conviction for sexual misconduct. The prior plea deal is being used as evidence of present guilt.
Nick says he is a victim, not only once, but a double victim.
Nick said, “This is the second time I have been falsely accused. Unlike eleven years ago, the truth will come out this time.”
I conducted an interview with Nick concerning his prior rape charge and why he settled it if he was, as he claims, innocent of raping or even having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Interview With Nick
I will refer to the underage alleged victim as Jane [not her real name.]
Reporter: What happened concerning your prior conviction?
D’Angelo: It was 2009. She was a freshman. I was a junior. She was 14, I was 16. We were both attending Niagara Falls High School, both in the band. We both played trumpet.
Reporter: What happened?
D’Angelo: All this took place within a two-week period. It was the last week of September up until October which is when she alleged I raped her. We had started flirting and we would see each other before band class or after band class. On one occasion, she came over to my house. We made out in my backyard but there was no sexual activity. Nothing other than kissing.
Reporter: What happened next?
D’Angelo: Over the course of a couple of weeks, we fooled around a little, but didn’t have sex. It was just kissing.
At the time, I had a girlfriend, so meeting with Jane was behind my girlfriend’s back. It doesn’t make me a good guy, but it doesn’t make me a rapist.
So, I wanted to break up with Jane, or stop seeing her. The stairwell at Niagara Falls High School is well known for not having cameras. Everybody knew; everybody took advantage of it.
We met there because I knew my girlfriend would be in the band room, and I needed to talk to Jane alone. I knew nobody would see us. I met with Jane in the stairwell that morning; we were only there three or four minutes. There was camera footage of us walking in and camera footage of us coming out separately.
I told her, ‘Listen, Jane, we can’t do this anymore. I have a girlfriend and I feel really guilty. We ought to be done.’ To be honest, reflecting on it after all these years, I probably wasn’t super nice about it. I was probably a real dick. But she wasn’t crying. She didn’t seem upset, nothing like that when we left.
The surveillance footage showed Jane leaving the stairwell out of the second floor and making her way to the band room. She would have to go around then go down some stairs. The camera footage of her leaving the stairwell on the second floor showed she wasn’t crying. She wasn’t hysterical. She met up with one of her friends who was walking down the hallway and they were seen laughing on camera.
After I left her, I went to band class and my girlfriend and Jane were there. I probably didn’t need that added fuel on the fire. In my opinion, that may have precipitated what happened next.
It was about 2 pm. After the band period, Jane went to the nurse’s office and said she didn’t feel well. She wanted to go home. They were questioning her and all of a sudden she said somebody came up behind her on the second floor of the high school outside the music room and raped her up against the lockers. She did not know who the person was – this was her first story – she said the person was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. She couldn’t see his face. It lasted a couple of minutes, she said, then he left.
That was her first story. She stuck to it for about 30 minutes. They were looking at surveillance videos, then all of a sudden, she changed the story to say that I raped her.
I was called down to the principal’s office. They’re like, ‘Nick, she’s alleging rape.’ I said, “absolutely not, never in a million years.”
My mother came down and we were told that Jane was going to Children’s Hospital for a rape kit. The medical records eventually proved that I did not rape her, or have any sexual contact with her for that matter, but the records did not come back for four months.
In the meantime, I was suspended and the following week, I was arrested. Jane’s parents hired a civil attorney to sue the school and me. You might even say that was their first priority.
I was charged with rape and criminal sexual act which essentially alleged I raped her vaginally and anally on top of the stairs.
Reporter: Did she lie?
D’Angelo: Yes. I don’t know whether it was because she was mad at me for ending our fling and there was anger there or whether she just got caught up in a lie.
Her parents continued to force the issue. Within a few months, they filed their notice of claim, declaring their intention to sue the school district for negligence.
I was arrested and released on $10,000 bail and retained Paul Cambria as my lawyer. The medical records finally came back and corroborated what I said all along.
Reporter: Why wasn’t that sufficient to drop the case?
D’Angelo: Paul Cambria tells me “Nick, the results came back. She’s still a virgin. There were no rips, no lesions, no tears, no semen, no bruising, no nothing.” I said,” OK, great. That means the charges will get dropped.”
Cambria said “Nick, they’re not going to drop the charges. The DA, Mike Violante said, ‘I’m running for re-election in a year and a half. How can I explain dropping rape charges after it’s gotten all this news coverage? How do you expect that’s going to make me look?’ He was worried about his political career.
At that point, we had a conversation with Paul about whether we were going to take this to trial or settle for a plea offer of a misdemeanor for sexual misconduct. We would specify it was due to age, not due to force, because I was 16 and she was 14.
Reporter: So you admitted you had sex when you did not?
D’Angelo: Yes, under the advice of counsel. The plea deal was to plead guilty to one count of an A-Misdemeanor of sexual misconduct, and if I did that, I would be granted youthful offender status, which would mean I would never have to say I was convicted and I would not have to register as a sex offender. I would get probation as a sentence. The alternative would be to go to trial.
My first inclination was to go to trial, put the girl up on the stand, and show she was lying. My parents already paid $10,000 to bail me out of jail. I spent $17,000 of my own money which I had saved up since my First Holy Communion, which was going to be money I planned to use to buy a car. I had to use all of that for my legal fees and, as it turns out, never was able to buy the car I wanted.
I was told it would cost a minimum of $45,000 for trial which meant my parents would have had to take out a second mortgage on the house. I couldn’t do that to my parents, despite the fact that I knew if we went to trial, I would be successful because she was lying and I was telling the truth. I was totally innocent. But I decided to take the plea deal. It was a monetary consideration.
Reporter: You were put on probation?
D’Angelo: I was on interim probation from March 2010 until December 2011.
Reporter: How did you feel about being, as you say you are, an innocent person who has a sexual misconduct conviction?
D’Angelo: It was difficult to deal with at the time. Being reported on in the media, which was really where they tried to try it. It was untrue and frankly, it’s something that followed me. I was innocent and falsely accused of raping someone I never even had sexual contact with.
Is Nick guilty of raping Jane and/or Noelle? There are some new developments – including the results of a herpes test.
Stay tuned for Part 3.