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MUTE VICTIM BLINKS EYES TO NAME SUSPECT

A paralyzed, mute woman shed tears and then blinked several times to identify a man she says sexually assaulted her in her hospital bed.

The woman, who can't speak and can only move her head a few inches after she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease six months ago, identified her attacker by blinking "yes" at a picture of the hospital worker.James Duke, 39, of East Windsor was charged with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and was being held on $55,000 bail. He also was fired from his job as a respiratory therapist at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, 15 miles southwest of Hartford.

By blinking at letters on an alphabet board, the woman let her husband and hospital officials know the man had assaulted her as she lay in bed on the mornings of May 1 and May 2.

Between 8 and 10 a.m., the man would close the curtains around her bed and touch her as she lay awake and aware but unable to scream or move, according to court records. She described the worker as bearded and heavyset.

When police showed the woman a series of photographs, she blinked "yes" at Duke's picture, according to court records.

The woman, whose name was not released, arrived at the hospital at the beginning of May.

Her husband first realized something was wrong when he visited her last week and saw tears roll down her face.