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'Most likely to succeed' at DHS accused of attempted murder
By Jill Harmacinski
Staff writer

DANVERS - Open the 1983 Danvers High School yearbook and Scott Powers' charming smile immediately stops you.

There, on page 98, are his accomplishments: Student Council President. National Honor Society. Football and basketball standout. "Most Likely to Succeed."

For many years, he appeared to live up to all that promise.

Until his arrest last week.

The 39-year-old Powers is accused of raping and beating his girlfriend for six months, at one point holding her head in tub of freezing water. The brutality allegedly culminated on Jan. 21 in Topsfield when Powers strangled the 35-year-old woman until she blacked out, dragged her by her hair, repeatedly punched her in the face and threatened to kill her.

In court, the prosecutor said the only reason Powers stopped beating the woman was because a roommate walked in and pulled him off.

The charges belie the image that Powers portrayed over the years. One of seven children in a prominent Danvers family, he earned a degree from Williams College, tried out for a professional football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and worked as an independent investment broker.

The father of four children, Powers was also a familiar face at Danvers High football games, where he regularly worked as the timekeeper.

But what one relative described as Powers' "great public persona" crumbled last week when he was arrested by Topsfield police on an array of domestic assault and sex offenses, including the attempted murder of his girlfriend, whom police said he tried to strangle.

Michael Powers, a town selectman, described the downturn in his younger brother's life as a "very, very sad story." The elder Powers said he's been estranged from his brother for 18 months.

"He made a decision to leave his family and move on," Michael Powers said. "And we, as a family, are trying to be supportive of his wife and their children."

Scott Powers' attorney, John Bjorlie, said his client has a history of depression. Powers tried to kill himself after the alleged assault on his girlfriend and was hospitalized for almost a week before his arrest and court arraignment.

Police records indicate Powers was arrested for drunken driving in January 2003 after an accident in West Boxford, and again in Beverly in March of last year.

Powers also has a history of sex offenses in both Massachusetts and Maine, according to court documents.

Bjorlie said he has yet to assemble a defense for his client, noting he will likely be indicted by a grand jury and re-arraigned on the charges in Superior Court. Bjorlie said he met with Powers in Middleton Jail yesterday morning to discuss a scheduled court hearing tomorrow, when a judge will determine if Powers is a danger to himself or the community. Powers is being held on $100,000 cash bail.

"He appears very intelligent and well-educated," said Bjorlie, noting Powers is "in the middle of a nasty divorce."

Powers' estranged wife declined comment for this story and asked that her name and the names of her children not be included.

She, along with the Topsfield woman, both have active restraining orders against Powers.

Despite the lengthy list of criminal charges and the silence between them, Michael Powers said he loves his brother.

"Oh yes," Michael Powers said. "Absolutely."

Staff reporter Jill Harmacinski can be reached at 978-338-2652 or by email at [email protected].
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