Jury: Guilty in sex assault

Sentencing is expected in spring

A Cheshire County jury has convicted a Rindge man of sexual assault on girl under the age of 13 in the 1990s. Sentencing in the case has not yet been determined, but he could face up to 97 years in prison.

According to documents available Monday at the Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene, Jason Czekalski, 52, was found guilty on Jan. 9 of three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of felonious sexual assault, all against the girl during a two-year period between Sept. 1, 1993, and Dec. 31, 1995.

Prosecutors dropped one count of patterned aggravated felonious sexual assault, as well as one count of witness tampering. In the March 2013 indictment for witness tampering, Czekalski was accused of allegedly persuading the victim to withhold information about the sexual assaults.

The conviction comes close to a year after Czekalski was arrested on sexual assault charges on Jan. 25, 2013, following a phone call between himself and the alleged victim that was tapped by Rindge police.

In October 2013, Czekalski filed a motion to suppress evidence obtained through the January phone call, claiming it was done unlawfully. Assistant County Attorney Keith Clouatre said by phone Monday that Judge John C. Kissinger Jr. denied the motion, and the jury heard the recording during the trial.

Czekalski, who has been held without bail since Feb. 15, will continue to be held without bail pending sentencing, for which a date has not yet been set.

According to court documents, a pre-sentence investigation report detailing Czekalski’s personal history was requested by the defense, which will be prepared prior to his hearing.

Clouatre estimated that with the pre-sentence investigation report and the back-logged court, Czekalski’s sentencing wouldn’t take place for some time. “I would say the sentencing will be in two to three months,” he said. Clouatre added that the sentencing for an aggravated felonious sexual assault charge is typically 10 to 30 years, and 3.5 to 7 years for a felonious sexual assault charge.

The day before his trial, Czekalski filed a Jan. 6 motion to continue his case, after being transported two weeks previously from the Cheshire County House of Correction to the N.H. State Prison in Concord allegedly without any explanation. In his motion, Czekalski said he was unable to access materials he needed to prepare his defense as a result of the move and, in his prayer for relief, he asked to be moved back to the House of Corrections and for the trial to be postponed.

Judge John C. Kissinger Jr. denied the motion, and the trial took place as scheduled.

In an unrelated case, Jason Czekalski’s son, Luke Czekalski, 28, of Rindge, pled guilty on Nov. 26 to one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault on a victim under the age of 13.

Luke Czekalski had been held on $10,000 bail since Oct. 30, 2012, when he was arrested on multiple charges of sexual assault against a child between the ages of 6 and 13, allegedly taking place between September and October 2012. Czekalski was arrested on a warrant four days after he made statements to Jaffrey Police Det. Joseph Hileman about the alleged sexual assaults.

Luke Czekalski was sentenced to 3.5 to 7 years in prison at N.H. State Prison in Concord, with all of the sentence suspended for 25 years with several conditions. Czekalski will have to attend counseling, waive sentence review, show good behavior, and avoid unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

Elodie can be reached by phone at 924-7172 ext. 228, or by email at ereed@ledgertranscript.com. Elodie is also on Twitter @elodie_reed.

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