• Man, 19, held on felony sex crime charges
    February 06,2013
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    Man held on felony sex charges

    MANCHESTER — A local teenager was ordered held without bail on Friday after police said he held a woman in her apartment, groped her and attempted to put his hand inside her clothing on Jan. 22.

    Robert Bessette, 19, of Manchester, was arraigned in Bennington criminal court on Friday on two felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct and a felony count of second-degree unlawful restraint. Bessette pleaded innocent to the charges.

    In an affidavit, Officer Paul McGann, of the Manchester Police Department, said he had met with a woman on Jan. 23 around 8:20 p.m. who complained that Bessette had been bothering her as she was trying to move out of a Main Street apartment.

    The woman, who had a relationship with Bessette, told police at the time that there had not been “anything physical” but said she wanted Bessette to “leave her alone,” according to the affidavit.

    On Jan. 24, however, McGann said he learned the woman had requested a temporary relief from abuse order from Bennington family court and reported that Bessette had tried to initiate sexual conduct with her against her will on Jan. 22.

    McGann said he met with the woman on Jan. 24 and asked her to tell him what happened on Jan. 22.

    According to the affidavit, the woman said Bessette had tried to initiate sexual contact at the Main Street apartment with her at least five times.

    The woman said Bessette pinned her down in the kitchen and touched her several times while he was in the apartment. She told McGann he also attempted to put his hands inside her clothing several times.

    Arguing that Bessette should be held without bail, Bennington County Deputy State’s Attorney Alexander Burke pointed out that Bessette was already on probation and had previously been convicted of seven misdemeanors and four felonies.

    Judge Cortland Corsones ruled that Bessette would be held without bail until a hearing to determine if Bessette will have a chance to be released pending the resolution of the case. Corsones said he made his decision based on Bessette’s criminal history and the serious nature of the new charges.
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