EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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June 5, 2014

Salem man sentenced in first of three trials

Libby sentenced in one sex assault case, faces more

BRENTWOOD — A 73-year-old Salem man was led out of the courtroom and off to state prison yesterday, where he will spend the next three to 10 years for trying to sexually assault a young girl.

But Ronald Libby won’t be gone from Rockingham Superior Court for long. He’s scheduled to go on trial soon in two other sexual assault cases involving children his wife baby-sat for in their Jill Road home.

Libby, who faced 10 to 30 years in prison, was sentenced by Judge Marguerite Wageling for attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault.

A jury convicted him May 22 of trying to force a young girl to touch him between September 2008 and July 2010, when she was 5 or 6 years old. Libby had been free on $50,000 personal recognizance until his conviction.

The victim, now 10, testified against Libby during the three-day trial and was present in the courtroom yesterday with her parents.

It was the child’s courageous testimony that helped convict Libby, according to Assistant County Attorney Kirsten Wilson.

The family lived in the same neighborhood as the Libbys and trusted them, she said.

Wilson told the judge how the parents took the child to the family’s minister for guidance and hoped she was too young to remember the incidents. But she could never forget the trauma, Wilson said.

“She’s angry, she’s still scared,” the prosecutor said, recommending a three- to six-year sentence. “It stuck with her. ... It’s unforgiveable.”

The child’s mother fought back tears as she told of how her daughter suffered nightmares and would scream.

Her father said he hoped Libby would receive the counseling he needs in prison. One year of the sentence would be suspended if he receives sex offender treatment, Wageling said.

“We, as a family, will move forward and heal our wounds,” the father said. “I hope the defendant gets some help and counseling so his family can heal as well.”

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