• Man accused of sexually assaulting teen
    By Patrick McArdle
    Staff Writer | September 04,2013
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    BENNINGTON — A local man was ordered held without bail after police said he admitted to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

    Patrick Bussacco, 25, of Bennington, pleaded innocent in Bennington criminal court on Monday to a felony charge of repeated aggravated sexual assault.

    If convicted of the charge, Bussacco would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and could be sentenced to up to life in prison.

    In an affidavit, Detective Anthony Silvestro, of the Bennington Police Department, said he began his investigation Aug. 26 after hearing from a mother who lives in Pownal.

    During an interview at the police station, the mother said she had found “hundreds of messages” from Bussacco on her 15-year-old daughter’s phone. She said there were also nude photographs of Bussacco which had been sent to the teenager, the woman said.

    Silvestro said he tracked down Bussacco’s address and sports utility vehicle. On Aug. 28, Silvestro applied for and was granted warrants to search the mother’s home and Bussacco’s home and SUV.

    According to the affidavit, the warrant was executed at the mother’s home Aug. 30 by Silvestro, an investigator from the Vermont Department for Children and Families and Vermont State Police Trooper Robert Zink. Afterward, the investigators spoke with the 15-year-old girl.

    The girl admitted she had a sexual relationship with Bussacco which started over the summer, according to the affidavit. She said the sexual activities had taken place at her father’s home in North Bennington.

    The girl said she knew Bussacco because he was dating one of her relatives.

    Silvestro said the girl admitted to sending Bussacco “numerous inappropriate pictures” of herself and marking every day they had sexual contact on her cellphone calendar. Police seized the phone and Silvestro said a forensic examination of the phone would be conducted.

    Police officers from the Bennington Police Department executed the warrant at Bussacco’s home at the same time as police were searching the mother’s home. Among the items collected was Bussacco’s cellphone.

    Silvestro said when he returned to the police station Aug. 30, Bussacco and others were waiting for him.

    Bussacco agreed to speak with Silvestro. In the affidavit, Silvestro said Bussacco admitted to the sexual relationship and called it a “mistake” and a “fling, a summer thing.”

    Silvestro said Bussacco confirmed what the girl had told police about their relationship and said it took place when he was staying in North Bennington with the girl and her father and before he and his girlfriend moved to their current home in Bennington.

    During Bussacco’s arraignment, Susan McManus, who represented Bussacco, asked Judge Nancy Corsones to release him and allow him to stay in his home. McManus said Bussacco’s girlfriend, because she is related to the girl Bussacco is accused of sexually assaulting, had agreed to move out of the apartment so there would be no contact between Bussacco and the girl.

    Bennington County Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Christina Rainville said Bussacco was a risk to the community because he was dating a woman but using that woman “to gain access to a child.”

    A hearing is scheduled for today to determine if Bussacco will be released pending the outcome of the case.

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