Massachusetts professor accused of assaulting colleague with fire poker, garden shears

Posted at 12:55 PM, Jan 06, 2020

LEVERETT, Mass. – A college professor in Massachusetts is facing charges after allegedly assaulting a colleague with a fire poker, garden shears and a rock.

Rie Hachiyanagi, 48, was arraigned on charges Friday in connection with the assault that took place at the victim’s Leverett home on Dec. 23, according to the Northwestern District Attorney.

A criminal complaint obtained by NBC News says Hachiyanagi showed up to the victim’s home unannounced at about 10 p.m. and began to strike her in the back of the head with “something hard.” During the attack, Hachiyanagi reportedly professed her love for the victim and said she “should have known,” the report says.

In order to stop the assault, the victim told authorities that she lied, said she loved Hachiyanagi back and convinced her to call 911, according to the report.

When authorities responded to the home, they say they found Hachiyanagi and the victim lying together on the floor. Fearing retaliation, the victim reportedly didn’t name Hachiyanagi as the assailant right away, but later did from the safety of the hospital.

The victim suffered severe injuries during the attack, but prosecutors say she is expected to survive. She told police that she’d been friendly with Hachiyanagi for about 14 years, but never on a romantic level.

Hachiyanagi was later arrested on multiple charges, including one count of armed assault to murder a person over 60, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, one count of mayhem, and one count of armed assault in a dwelling. Prosecutors say she’s being held in the Franklin County House of Correction without bail until her next hearing on Feb. 4.

Hachiyanagi has been identified as a professor of art at Mount Holyoke College. In a statement sent to NBC News, a spokeswoman for the school said Hachiyanagi has been put on administrative leave. According to Hachiyanagi's faculty profile, her specialty is with handmade paper works.