PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An access vehicle driver accused of raping a woman with Down syndrome will go to trial.
The driver, 54-year-old Daniel Burrelli, was in court for a preliminary hearing Thursday. He was arrested in March.
The sexual acts took place repeatedly over a period of 18 months and were reported to police after the woman’s family took her to the hospital – fearing that she’d been sexually assaulted.
Burrelli admitted to investigators that he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman he would take to and from Mercy Behavioral on a weekly basis.
Burrelli who drove the Access van through the Port Authority service area told police, “I was hired to do a job and not have a sexual encounter along with it, but at the same time, I am a man. I have my physical needs at the same time.”
The 52-year-old woman, who has Down syndrome, told investigators that she was in pain after her Access driver “Dan” did something bad to her.
The criminal complaint specifically details the woman’s account of the sexual assaults that all took place on the Access van after Burrelli had dropped the rest of the passengers off.
The numerous encounters took place on the route back to her home when Burrelli would pull off the road.
The Oakmont man told police the victim was aware of what was happening, and claims she even initiated some of the encounters.
Burrelli is engaged to a woman with a learning disability and told police he had told her about the sexual acts before he was arrested.
Burrelli has a $100,000 bond and will have to go to a behavior clinic after he’s released from jail.