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Ronald Libby, 73, of Salem looks up at his lawyer in Rockingham County Superior Court before being convicted of attempting to sexually assault a young girl between 2008 and 2010. (JAMES A. KIMBLE/Union Leader Correspondent)

Salem man convicted of attempted sex assault in babysitting case

BRENTWOOD — A jury convicted a 73-year-old Salem man of attempting to have sexual contact with a young girl while she was being babysat at his home.

Ronald Libby, of Jill Road in Salem, was convicted Thursday afternoon of a single count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault after a three-day trial in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Libby repeatedly solicited the girl to touch him, sometimes dropping his pants, between September 2008 and July 2010 while she sat in his living room being babysat by his wife, prosecutors said. She was between ages five and six at the time.

Thursday’s conviction capped the first of three trials Libby faces in connection with his wife’s home babysitting business. He is accused of sexually assaulting two other young girls who were babysat at his home in the early 1990s, according to prosecutors.

Judge Marguerite Wageling revoked Libby’s bail following the jury’s verdict, ordering him held at the Rockingham County jail pending sentencing. Libby, who walks with a cane, did not react to the jury’s verdict, but buckled as he rose from the defense table while being led away by sheriff’s deputies.

The jury returned its verdict after about two hours of deliberation.

Libby faces up to 10 to 20 years in state prison. His next two trials on charges of felonious sexual assault and attempted felonious sexual assault are scheduled for June and September.

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