Rindge man indicted on sex assault charges

KEENE — Last week, a Cheshire County Grand Jury indicted a Rindge man on charges of sexually assaulting a family member under the age of 13 for a period in the 1990s.

Jason Czekalski, 51, of Rindge was indicted on four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, one count of felonious sexual assault and one count of witness tampering, according to Cheshire County Superior Court documents available Monday morning. In January, police had charged him with two counts of felonious sexual assault and one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

In addition to specific incidents, Czekalski was indicted for an alleged pattern of sexual assault on the same child between Sept. 1, 1993, and Dec. 31, 1995, Cheshire County Assistant Attorney John M. Gasaway Jr., told the Ledger-Transcript on Monday.

Czekalski is also charged with attempting to persuade the victim — who is related to Czekalski by blood — to withhold from authorities information about the alleged sexual assaults, according to the indictments.

When asked Monday if additional charges could be filed against Czekalski, Gasaway said a second victim had come forward, but police investigation of the report is ongoing. State prosecutors spoke of a second victim at a probable cause hearing at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Jan. 29, but as of press time Monday, police had not yet filed charges.

Gasaway encouraged anyone with information to contact Rindge or state police, as both agencies have been investigating the allegations against Czekalski for several months.

According to state statute, first-time offenders convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault could face 10 to 20 years in jail for a single offense. But that sentence does not take into consideration any possible future plea agreements between the prosecution and the defense.

As of press time Monday, Czekalski was being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail at the Cheshire County House of Corrections, after allegedly violating a protective order that prohibits him from contacting his wife, Jacqueline Czekalski.

Czekalski had been released from jail on Feb. 6, when 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.

Rindge Police Chief Frank Morrill wrote in an affidavit for an arrest warrant dated Feb. 15 that Gasaway and N.H. State Trooper Sgt. Joseph DiRusso had contacted him that day about a man identified as Ben Wilder of Stoddard, who had visited Czekalski at the jail. “[T]he video recorded Ben telling Jason, ‘So I tried, I talked to your wife yesterday like you told me to. I don’t know where the gold coins are, but she had no interest in bailing you out. She says that you left her nothing,’” wrote Morrill in the affidavit.

Czekalski is scheduled to be arraigned on five felony-level sexual assault charges and one count of witness tampering at Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday morning.

He is also scheduled to appear at the 8th Circuit Court in Jaffrey on Thursday to enter a plea for the charge of violating a protective order. A trial date in that case has been set for May 30, according to court records.

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