Vermont man pleads guilty to sexually assaulting young Stoneham girl

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PARIS — A Vermont man admitted Thursday in court to sexually assaulting a young girl in her home in Stoneham in May 2012.

Kevin P. Collins, 53, of Brattleboro, Vt., pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony, in Oxford County Superior Court.

One count of gross sexual assault and one count of assault were dropped in exchange for his plea. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison with all but 15 months suspended. He’ll have four years of probation and will be on the Sex Offender Registry for life.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Beauchesne and active retired Justice Robert W. Clifford agreed that the plea would save the girl the trauma of having to recount the incident in court. She is under the age of 14.

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According to Beauchesne, Collins assaulted the girl at her home in Stoneham in early May 2012.

The girl’s family was in court Thursday. Her mother testified that her grades have fallen and that the once-sociable girl has become withdrawn.

“I just ask, for (the girl’s) sake, that you sentence the defendant to the maximum amount allowed,” she told the judge.

The felony charge carries a sentence of up to 30 years.

Beauchesne said the girl has lost the “childlike look” in her eyes. “There’s no way that she can recapture it,” he said. Collins’ actions have caused “effects we can’t even calculate right now,” he said.

He asked for 18 months of incarceration at the Maine Department of Corrections in Windham, rather than a county jail, saying 18 months was at the low end of the reasonable range for Collins’ crime. He called the sentence “a fraction of the time that (the girl) is going to have to live with what he’s done.”

Collins’ attorney, Jason Ranger, said his client’s actions were partially due to Collins’ heavy alcohol use. “Alcohol did play a role in the incident,” Ranger said. He said Collins’ understands the impact his actions had on the girl and her family and is deeply sorry.

Ranger asked that Collins serve his sentence in county jail. He said Collins will be a sex offender for life, and will face “public scorn.”

Collins cried and apologized to the family in court.

Clifford said he believed Collins’ remorse is sincere, but said the assault was “a very serious offense with a very serious impact on the child.” He also allowed that the crime “would not have happened if alcohol was not involved.”

“He appears to be well on his way to rehabilitation, which is always a good sign,” Clifford said. He said Collins had written a letter of apology to the court.

Collins must undergo sex offender counseling to the satisfaction of his probation officer and will be prohibited from drug and alcohol use.

treaves@sunjournal.com

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