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Rindge sex assault suspect sentenced on protective order violation

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, plead guilty to violating a protective order at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday. Czekalski was represented by his public defender, James P. O'Rourke, left.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

JAFFREY — A Rindge man, who was recently indicted on charges of sexually assaulting his oldest daughter, was sentenced to 120 days at the Cheshire County House of Corrections on Thursday for violating a protective order that prohibits him from contacting his wife.

Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 60 days suspended for two years, pending good behavior, after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor-level charge at a plea and sentencing hearing at the 8th Circuit Court on Thursday. Czekalski will be credited 49 days for time served.

Czekalski had plead not guilty to violating the protective order at a two-part bail hearing at the 8th Circuit Court in mid-February, but on Thursday he changed his plea.

“I’m sorry. I broke the rules,” Czekalski told the court. “There are mitigating circumstances; I did not have the order in hand. I know the argument’s been made that I’m an attorney, but this is not an area of law that I practice.”

Czekalski is accused of contacting his wife, Jacqueline Czekalski, through a third party while he was incarcerated, in order to secure bail money, according to court records.

“My whole reason for doing this was to get out, and be able to take care of my clients and most importantly my family,” Czekalski said. “I did it the wrong way.”

To begin Thursday’s hearing, Assistant Cheshire County Attorney John M. Gasaway Jr. and Czekalski’s public defender, James P. O’Rourke Jr. of Henniker-based Gleason Law Office, discussed a negotiated cap plea agreement reached by both parties in exchange for Czekalski’s guilty plea.

They requested that 8th Circuit Court Judge L. Phillips Runyon III order Czekalski to no more than six months in jail with two months suspended for two years, pending good behavior. “But the state won’t ask for more than four months,” Gasaway said.

The state and the defense reached a plea agreement exclusive of the felony charges pending against Czekalski at the Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene, according to Gasaway. “This isn’t doing anything to resolve that,” he said.

Czekalski was arraigned Wednesday at the Superior Court on four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, one count of felonious sexual assault and one count of witness tampering. At Czekalski’s arraignment, Superior Court Judge John C. Kissinger Jr. sided with the state, ordering Czekalski to remain incarcerated at the Cheshire County House of Corrections pending trial.

At the 8th Circuit Court on Thursday, the defense argued for a jail sentence of less than four months on the violation of protective order charge. O’Rourke said Czekalski is a longtime Rindge resident with no prior criminal record. “In our opinion, 120 days is too much,” O’Rourke said.

According to O’Rourke, Czekalski did not have the protective order in-hand when he spoke with Ben Wilder of Stoddard, the man alleged to have contacted Jacqueline Czekalski on her husband’s behalf on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. “It’s a mistake,” O’Rourke said.

The prosecution hand delivered to the defense the restraining order filed by Jacqueline Czekalski against her husband at a probable cause hearing on the sexual assault charges at the 8th Circuit Court on Jan. 29. But, according to Czekalski, the paperwork never made it to the jail.

Runyon said it’s commonplace for people to read court orders and not fully understand them, but added that Czekalski is not one of those people. “Whether you had the orders with you or not, you certainly were able to read them, to understand them,” Runyon said. “I think frankly there is a higher expectation for you then there would be for most people.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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