Rindge

Man faces 40-80 years in prison

Rindge resident sentenced in pattern of long-term sex abuse involving a young girl in the 1990s

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  • 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 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, 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)
  • 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 has been sentenced to 40 to 80 years in prison on one count of felonious sexual assault and three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, after assaulting a young girl under the age of 13 for a period of two years in the 1990s, according to court documents on file at the Cheshire County Superior Court.

Jason Czekalski, an attorney from Rindge, was sentenced on April 10 to no less than 10 and no more than 20 years in prison for each charge, which relate back to a pattern of abuse he is convicted of involving a girl under 13 between the years of 1993 and 1995. Judge John C. Kissinger stipulated that the sentences are to be served consecutively.

Czekalski was arrested for the crime in 2013, after Rindge police taped a phone conversation that took place between Czekalski and the victim on Jan. 25, 2013. The victim, who was 11 years old at the time the assaults began and is currently in her early 30s, was known to Czekalski.

Assistant Cheshire County Attorney John M. Gasaway, who prosecuted the case, said in an interview Monday that originally, the prosecution was seeking sentences of 10 to 20 years for three of the offenses, and would have settled for a suspended sentence on one of the charges. The court, however, gave Czekalski 10 to 20 years on each of the four charges.

“I do think it was appropriate,” said Gasaway of the sentencing. “I think it was fair.”

Czekalski, his victim and the victim’s mother were all given the opportunity to read statements prior to the sentencing, said Gasaway. He felt that the statements provided by the victim and her mother were strong factors in Czekalski receiving such a long sentence. “She stated clearly that she’s afraid of him, and had been afraid of him. I do think the court took that into account,” Gasaway said, referring to the victim. “The court called him a despicable monster and gave him the 40 to 80.”

A call to Czekalski’s public defender, James P. O’Rourke, seeking comment, was not returned by press time.

Prior to Czekalski’s sentencing, Czekalski motioned to renew a request for a pretrial investigation in order to give him more time to prepare his case, as well as to set aside the guilty verdict in the case and for a new trial, according to Gasaway. All three motions were denied prior to his sentencing.

Czekalski has challenged several aspects of his trial during the course of this case. He first petitioned the court to suppress the taped phone call that led to his arrest, claiming it had been done unlawfully in that it was recorded in a way that did not protect the tape from editing. The court ruled that the tape was admissible, however, as the recording was done at the behest of Gasaway, making the phone-tapping a lawful procedure.

Czekalski also questioned the court’s ability to rule in an unbiased manner in this case, since, as an attorney, he is known to members of the court. Czekalski asked that Judge Kissinger recuse himself from the case, on the grounds that he had previously appeared before Kissinger in a professional capacity. Czekalski argued that he would be treated to a different standard than a non-attorney defendant. That motion was also denied.

In January, another motion made by Czekalski, this time for a continuance of his case, was also denied. Czekalski argued that he did not have sufficient access to materials to mount his defense while being held at the N.H. State Prison in Concord.

Rindge Police Chief Frank Morrill said on Monday that he was glad to see the case resolved. “It’s a sad situation for everybody involved,” he said. “I think closure is very important for the family and for all involved.”

Morrill said he was satisfied that the sentencing is consistent with the outcome of other crimes of a similar nature.

Czekalski is a long-time resident of Rindge, and had been active in town politics. He graduated from Massachusetts School of Law in 2009 with a Juris Doctorate in land use, planning and local government, and had operated a law office in Rindge for three years prior to his arrest. Czekalski was prompted to pursue a law degree after a three-year battle with the town of Rindge over a sign he placed on the side of a public road directing passersby to his nearby farm and gift shop in Rindge, in violation of the town’s sign ordinance. He would later sponsor a petition to abolish the town’s sign ordinance, and dispute again with the town over that year’s voter guide, which Czekalski alleged was prejudiced against petition articles, including his own, on the ballot in 2008.

At one time, Czekalski held a seat on Rindge’s Budget Advisory Committee, and also made several unsuccessful bids for both state and local positions. He ran for State Representative in 2004 and again in 2010; and in 2009 he narrowly lost a three-way race for Select Board by 23 votes.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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