BRENTWOOD — A man convicted of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl at a Wal-Mart store in Plaistow was sentenced 15 to 30 years in state prison on Friday, and will have to be evaluated for a civil commitment before being released from prison.
“I can’t think of a more appropriate case for someone to be civilly committed,” Judge N. William Delker told Ronald Beausoleil, 34, of Haverhill, Mass., during his sentencing in Rockingham County Superior Court.
A jury convicted Beausoleil in November of sexually assaulting the girl while she was perusing the toy aisle of a Wal-Mart store in Plaistow.
Beausoleil also pleaded guilty to charges earlier this month that he exposed himself to another young girl at a Wal-Mart in Salem on Sept. 19, 2011.
“It’s astounding to think these are the only two times he has done something like this,” Assistant County Attorney Jennifer Haggar said, noting that the Salem case had gone cold until Beausoleil’s arrest last March 11.
Haggar revealed for the first time on Friday that Beausoleil has a history of targeting girls for sexual encounters since 1998, including incidents around elementary schools in Massachusetts.
A psychologist concluded in 2007 that Beausoleil suffered from pedophilia and was sexually attracted to young girls. That conclusion was based on a string of arrests and other incidents that he was never convicted of in Massachusetts, Haggar said.
In New Hampshire, Beausoleil was convicted of felonious sexual assault and served the maximum term, a 2- to 4-year prison term, for a sexual encounter with a 5-year-old girl who was a neighbor, Haggar said. Beausoleil was released from prison after serving that sentence without undergoing the state’s Sexual Offender Program, according to Haggar.
Defense lawyer Robert Watkins argued for a 7½- to 15-year prison term, saying Beausoleil himself had been a victim of physical and mental abuse at the hands of a stepfather. Watkins said Beausoleil has not resisted sex offender treatment in the past and wanted to do more.
“He recognizes he has some issues and he would like to address those,” Watkins said.
Delker said he took into account that Beausoleil had twice before undergone sex offender treatment yet still used aliases and changed his appearance from year to year in order to avoid detection while targeting young girls, many of whom were complete strangers.
“You don’t need a psychologist to understand that you pose a high, high risk of reoffending,” Delker said.
Delker said he was ordering the highest possible prison sentence along with a court-ordered evaluation for a civil commitment to ensure the maximum amount of protection he could provide to the public.
The father of one of the victims asked Delker to keep Beausoleil in state prison for as long as possible.
“He needs to be removed from society,” said the father. “He made this happen to countless families in the past. We don’t want this to happen to any other families. Who knows who hasn’t come forward? Who knows how many other families are out there?”
The aunt of the girl in the Salem case recalled after Friday’s hearing how she was at Wal-Mart in Salem on Sept. 19, 2011, when Beausoleil began following the two of them near a Halloween costume display. She recalled losing sight of her niece for a brief moment when Beausoleil approached the child and exposed himself.
The woman said Beausoleil’s sentence has given her and her family some relief.
“I felt the judge made a good call and I am happy with the way it turned out,” she firstname.lastname@example.org