By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — A suspect in a sexual assault at Wal-Mart in Plaistow last month faces another felony charge for a similar incident at a Salem store 18 months ago.
For nearly two years, police have sought an unidentified man who exposed himself to an 8-year-old at Wal-Mart on North Broadway.
But it took a high-profile sexual assault case — involving another young girl at Wal-Mart in Plaistow — to help them find their suspect.
Yesterday, Ronald Beausoleil, 33, of 972 Amesbury Road in Haverhill was arraigned in 10th Circuit Court in Salem on a felony indecent exposure charge for an incident in September 2011.
Police didn’t have to go far to make an arrest — just Beausoleil’s jail cell at the Rockingham County House of Corrections in Brentwood.
Beausoleil was being held on charges he touched a 9-year-old girl in a sexual manner in the toy aisle of the Plaistow Wal-Mart on March 10. He also was charged with shoplifting spark plugs from the store and driving with a revoked license.
Beausoleil is a convicted Level 3 sex offender in Massachusetts.
His arrest in Plaistow attracted a lot of media attention. When Salem police Sgt. Thomas Kench happened to see a photo of Beausoleil taken from store surveillance footage, he realized it looked just like the suspect in the Salem Wal-Mart case.
In that case, Beausoleil allegedly approached an 8-year-old girl in a grocery aisle while she was playing hide-and-seek with her aunt, according to a police affidavit.
Beausoleil then touched and rubbed her shirt, asking her “Isn’t that nice?” three times, the affidavit said.
He then exposed himself, the girl told police. Beausoleil walked away.
Police had multiple potential suspects in the case, but weren’t able to solve it, Salem prosecutor Jason Grosky said.
“The case essentially went cold at that point,” he told Judge Robert Stephen yesterday.
The girl, now 9, recently picked Beausoleil out of a photo lineup.
Grosky asked that Beausoleil be held on $10,000 cash bail for the new charge. Beausoleil was held on $25,000 cash bail after his arrest in the Plaistow case.
Beausoleil, dressed in a prison jumpsuit, was not required to speak in court or make a plea. He did tell the judge he is now being held on $50,000 cash bail, not $25,000 cash bail.
An arrest warrant on the Salem charge was issued Wednesday. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for April 15.
In the Plaistow case, prosecutor Jill Cook told Judge Michael Sullivan Beausoleil was a “multi-state offender” with 10 cases against him.
They include a 1999 felony conviction out of Grafton Superior Court in Massachusetts for unauthorized theft. He received a two- to four-year state prison sentence.
Cook said Beausoleil also was convicted that same year of felonious sexual assault in Grafton Superior Court, which also got him a two- to four-year prison sentence.
He was convicted in 2007 on two counts of violating probation, receiving a one-and-a-half to three-year sentence. In March 2012, Cook said, he was charged in New York state with marijuana possession and driving while impaired by alcohol.
Beausoleil is a Level 3 sex offender, based on the 1999 charge, which included indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, as well as an April 25, 2007 charge of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, according to the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry’s online database.
In Feburary, Beausoleil was charged with driving drunk and without a valid license in Methuen after he slammed his vehicle into a police cruiser that was traveling with its flashing lights on, police said.