How a Water Glass Undid Attorney Accused of Boston Rape Spree

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/LinkedIn
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/LinkedIn

Detectives used a drinking glass swiped from a corporate event to link New Jersey lawyer Matthew Nilo to a series of rapes from 2007 and 2008 in Boston, prosecutors revealed Monday.

The detail emerged as Nilo appeared for an arraignment attended by his fiancée, Laura Griffin, who reportedly clutched at rosary beads as he pleaded not guilty to four sexual assaults he allegedly committed as a college student.

Nilo, 35, is charged with three counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of assault with the intent to rape, and one count of indecent assault and battery. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

After more than 15 years without a suspect, Assistant District Attorney Lynn Feigenbaum said Boston cops decided to look into the series of unsolved rapes again last year. She said Nilo was ID’d as a person of interest—thanks in part to DNA samples submitted to sites like by family members—and the feds began monitoring him.

That’s when, at a “corporate event,” FBI agents spotted Nilo drink from glasses and using silverware, Feigenbaum said. Agents swooped in to pinch the items and test them, allegedly finding a match between DNA left on a drinking glass and the rape victims.

Feigenbaum said one of Nilo's alleged victims fought back against him in 2008, poking his eye repeatedly with a glove she was wearing. That act of self-defense could be crucial to the prosecution, as DNA from Nilo’s glass matched the DNA profile left on the woman’s glove, which is “314 times more likely to belong to Nilo than any other male,” according to Feigenbaum.

Nilo, who worked for insurance firm Cowbell Cyber in Manhattan but lived in New Jersey, was arrested last week at his luxury apartment complex after agents lured him to the building’s lobby by lying about a “large package” delivery, handcuffing him in front of Griffin, according to an arrest affidavit.

Nilo waived an extradition hearing and appeared in Suffolk Superior Court on Monday, where a judge set his bail at $5 million and ordered him to submit to GPS monitoring if released before trial.

Reached by phone last week, Griffin told The Daily Beast, “I have no comment and will continue to have no comment.” She did not respond to a voicemail left on Monday.

Feigenbaum revealed graphic details Monday about Nilo’s alleged rapes, arguing that the brutality should keep him from being released on bail ahead of trial.

Citing police reports, the prosecutor said three rapes took place in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston after Nilo deceived his victims in different ways.

One victim said she mistakenly got into a car thinking it was a taxi. Another said she hopped into her assailant’s vehicle after he offered to help her look for her car. A third woman said she was raped after a man offered her money to go to Charlestown with him. All three were allegedly raped near Terminal Street—not far from the Maurice J. Tobin Memorial Bridge.

A fourth victim was attacked as she jogged on Terminal Street, Feigenbaum said, but escaped after she repeatedly poked Nilo in the eye with her glove.

Nilo threatened to harm his victims with a knife or gun if they didn’t comply with his commands, Feigenbaum said.

The attacks took place while Nilo, then a psychology student at the University of Wisconsin, was home on break, Feigenbaum said.

A LinkedIn profile for Nilo said he graduated from the University of San Francisco’s law school in 2015 and moved to Boston, where he grew up and graduated high school, for work. At the time of his arrest, Nilo was a cyber claims counsel for Cowbell Cyber, which has since suspended his employment.

A colleague who worked with Nilo at the time of the alleged attacks told The Daily Beast that Nilo “was pretty reserved at work,” and that he didn’t give any indication he was capable of the crimes he’s accused of.

“I guess he was going to college and then coming back to Boston and doing that,” said the colleague, who asked to not be identified. “It was, like, Thanksgiving break, and then over the summer…In this world, your neighbor could be a serial killer. You just never know.”

—with additional reporting by Justin Rohrlich

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