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UPDATE: Bail revoked for Rindge man facing sex assault charges

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge at an arraignment at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge at an arraignment at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday.

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

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, at an arraignment at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday. Czekalski’s public defender, James P. O’Rourke Jr. of Henniker-based Gleason Law Office, faces Cheshire County Superior Court Justice John C. Kissinger Jr., who sit behind the bench.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, at an arraignment at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday. Czekalski’s public defender, James P. O’Rourke Jr. of Henniker-based Gleason Law Office, faces Cheshire County Superior Court Justice John C. Kissinger Jr., who sit behind the bench.

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

  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge at an arraignment at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge, right, at an arraignment at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday. Czekalski’s public defender, James P. O’Rourke Jr. of Henniker-based Gleason Law Office, faces Cheshire County Superior Court Justice John C. Kissinger Jr., who sit behind the bench.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

KEENE — A Rindge man indicted on charges of sexually assaulting his oldest daughter when she was under the age of 13 is being held without bail pending a trial at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene.

As of press time Wednesday, a trial date had not been set.

Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge was arraigned at Cheshire County Superior Court on Wednesday on four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, one count of felonious sexual assault and one count of witness tampering.

At Wednesday’s arraignment, testimony from State Police Sgt. Joseph T. DiRusso, who is an investigator in the case, provided the court with an account of how Rindge and state police executed Czekalski’s arrest at his home in January.

DiRusso also shared details from a recorded phone conversation between Czekalski and the alleged victim that took place minutes before police took Czekalski into custody.

DiRusso, who was assigned to the case in November 2012, said he interviewed Czekalski’s oldest daughter around the holidays at the Rindge Police Department. About a month later, on Jan. 25, police setup a “one-party intercept,” or recorded conversation, between Czekalski and his daughter.

“His older daughter stated [to Czekalski that] she was in counseling and needed help,” DiRusso said of the phone call, which Czekalski’s daughter made from a Rindge police cruiser parked outside the Main Street station. DiRusso said the alleged victim wanted to confirm the details of the sexual assaults from her childhood.

Because there were concerns for the safety of Czekalski’s family, DiRusso said police timed and executed Czekalski’s arrest towards the end of the recorded call.

“He was transported to the Rindge Police Station, and I conducted an interview with him there,” DiRusso said, adding that Czekalski waived his Miranda rights at that time. “Initially, there was a lot of denial toward the middle of the interview.”

But then DiRusso said he told Czekalski that police had recorded the phone conversation with Czekalski and his daughter.

“He did make some admissions about touching her,” DiRusso said.

Czekalski’s public defender, James P. O’Rourke Jr. of Henniker-based Gleason Law Office, asked DiRusso on Wednesday about Czekalski’s daughter’s demeanor during the phone conversation, but did not question him further.

“She was upset and crying,” DiRusso said.

On the issue of bail, O’Rourke requested that the required $50,000 cash for Czekalski’s release be reduced to $10,000 cash, with the provision that, if Czekalski posted bail, he’d submit to electronic monitoring.

But given the charges against Czekalski, Assistant Cheshire County Attorney John M. Gasaway Jr., told the court that bail should be revoked.

O’Rourke said the allegations against Czekalski are from the 1990s and that there is no evidence he is a danger to the public or a flight risk.

“This is like nuclear war against one man with a machine gun,” O’Rourke said, referring to the state’s argument to revoke Czekalski’s bail.

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. Considering the number and severity of the charges, Kissinger said denying Czekalski bail is the appropriate course of action.

In January, police had charged Czekalski with two counts of felonious sexual assault and one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Bail was set at $10,000 cash at that time, and on Feb. 6, Charles A. Willard of Hancock posted the $10,000 cash required for Czekalski’s release.

But nine days later, state police arrested Czekalski on a warrant issued by the Rindge Police Department, charging him with violation of a protective order, a misdemeanor-level charge. Prosecutors say Czekalski contacted his wife, Jacqueline Czekalski, through a third party while he was at the jail in an attempt to secure bail money.

Czekalski is slated to appear at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey today for a plea and sentencing hearing on the matter.

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

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