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Mass. businessman sentenced to up to 7 years for hotel job 'tests'

Union Leader Correspondent

March 28. 2016 6:27PM

DOVER — A prominent Massachusetts businessman was sentenced Monday to up to seven years in prison for holding a 25-year-old woman against her will at a Dover hotel.

Thomas Minichiello, 63, the former owner of an insurance agency and ex-president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, showed no emotion as he was led from Strafford County Superior Court in handcuffs.

Defense attorney Thomas Gleason described Minichiello as being “disappointed” with Judge Brian Tucker’s decision to impose the maximum sentence, with just six months suspended.

Minichiello’s victim, Maelyn Emerson of Rochester, broke her silence and spoke to the media for the first time.

“I’m just glad he’s off the street and he can’t hurt anyone else,” Emerson, a mother of four, said. “I’m just going to try to put my life back together.”

Minichiello lured Emerson to the Comfort Inn under the guise of offering her a job at a fitness company, and then performed a series of bizarre tests on her over the course of four hours, while keeping her hostage using two syringes filled with unknown liquids on Sept. 17, 2013.

Gleason admitted that Minichiello’s behaviors are bizarre, but argued he never caused Emerson physical harm. He said Minichiello decided not to pursue sex with Emerson after she lied and told him she had AIDS.

Gleason blamed the 2003 death of one of Minichiello’s daughters for his client’s actions, saying the car crash changed the Groveland, Mass., man’s life, and he doesn’t understand the depravity of his deeds.

During the sentencing hearing, prosecutor Alysia Cassotis said Emerson lived in a constant state of fear after the attack, and her life fell apart. The young woman was living under a tree in a camper at one point, and got divorced from her husband.

Cassotis asked Tucker to consider that Minichiello was accused of an eerily similar crime against a woman in Massachusetts in 2008. Minichiello allegedly invited a 27-year-old woman to meet him at a Courtyard Marriott in Marlborough, Mass., to interview for a job with a fitness company Minichiello purported to own.

An attempted rape charge against him was dropped in June 2008. Assault and battery charges were continued without a finding, according to court records.

On Monday,Gleason asked for a suspended sentence in the 2013 case, claiming society would not benefit by putting Minichiello behind bars for a lengthy period of time.

In addition to the prison sentence, Minichiello was fined $4,000, given a $680 penalty and ordered to pay Emerson restitution, not to exceed $10,000.

Minichiello has 30 days to file an appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Courts Crime Rochester Dover

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