BRENTWOOD — A Raymond man accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl admitted to a lesser charge on Monday as part of a negotiated plea deal with county prosecutors.
Richard Smeltzer, 68, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in Rockingham County Superior Court for having contact with the girl last June 23.
Smeltzer is expected to serve a 2- to 7-year prison term, undergo sex offender treatment and register as a sex offender for 10 years, according to the terms of the deal.
He struck the plea deal on Monday morning just as a jury was about to be selected for his trial. Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault and misdemeanor simple assault.
Smeltzer admitted to Judge Marguerite Wageling that prosecutors had enough evidence to prove that he kissed the girl on the lips.
Assistant County Attorney Lisa Cirulli told Wageling that the girl was a neighbor of Smeltzer’s at the time of the assault.
Raymond police arrested Smeltzer on Aug. 27 after the girl told a family member about the alleged assaults, according to police.
Had he been convicted of the aggravated felonious sexual assault charges, he could have faced up to 10 to 20 years in state prison.
Wageling revoked bail for Smeltzer, who was taken into custody on Monday following his guilty plea. Smeltzer is being held at the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood pending his sentencing on July 1.
The victim or her family will be given an opportunity to speak at the sentencing hearing if they wish, according to the judge.
Corrections officials may have to decide whether Smeltzer will serve his sentence at either of the two state prison’s in New Hampshire or elsewhere.
His son, Christopher Smeltzer, is currently serving a 15- to 30-year state prison term for killing his wife, Mara Pappalardo.
Christopher Smeltzer pleaded guilty to manslaughter on Nov. 7, 2010.
Prosecutors say that Christopher Smeltzer came home to find that Pappalardo had strangled to death their 4-year-old son and attempted to do the same to their 7-year-old daughter.
Christopher Smeltzer maintained that he bludgeoned his wife to death with a flashlight because he believed at first that she had killed both children. Smeltzer told prosecutors that he then attempted to kill himself by overdosing on pills. He was initially charged with second-degree murder. His earliest parole date is November 2025.