By Doug Ireland
---- — BRENTWOOD — For years, Ronald Beausoleil scoured school grounds and store aisles, looking for young girls he could sexually assault.
But for the next 15 to 30 years, the 33-year-old Haverhill man will be in a prison cell far from his stalking grounds.
Beausoleil, also a registered sex offender in Massachusetts, was sentenced yesterday in Rockingham Superior Court for touching a 9-year-old girl in a sexual manner at Walmart in Plaistow in March.
The sentence handed down by Judge N. William Delker comes only a week after the self-employed contractor and father of two pleaded guilty to touching an 8-year-old girl at Walmart in Salem, N.H., in September 2011 and then exposing himself.
That plea came just as his trial was to begin Jan.14. Beausoleil decided to plead guilty in exchange for a suspended sentence of three and a half to seven years.
The families of both young victims were in the courtroom yesterday as Delker told Beausoleil he must be severely punished for his crimes. Delker also scolded Beausoleil for not taking full advantage of sexual offender treatment.
Beausoleil, dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, appeared nervous as he sat before the judge along with his attorney, Robert Watkins. He stared at the table in front of him as Delker spoke.
“It does not take a psychologist to recognize you are the very definition of a sexual predator,” Delker said. “Again and again, you victimized the most vulnerable members of society.”
Beausoleil’s criminal record dates back to 1998 when he was charged and later convicted of sexually assaulting his 5-year-old neighbor, according to Assistant County Attorney Jennifer Haggar.
Beausoleil’s mother said he even sexually assaulted three young family members, Haggar said. He would also seek out young girls outside elementary schools, his mother said.
“He targets these little girls and assaults these girls, forever changing their lives,” Haggar said. “What the court can do is stop him from doing something like this for at least 15 years.”
The incident at Walmart in Plaistow occurred after the 9-year-old girl wandered away from her mother in the toy aisle. The child, who did not attend the sentencing but testified at Beausoleil’s trial in November, told police she was approached by a man who touched her “privates.”
She pushed the man away and went to get help. She spoke to the store manager, who called police and reunited the child with her mother. Store surveillance video showed Beausoleil fleeing Walmart.
While at the store, Beausoleil was helping a woman steal merchandise, including spark plugs. The 15- to 30-year sentence included serving one and half to three years for the theft and paying the store $489 in restitution.
After the store surveillance video was released to the media, Salem police realized it was the same man they were seeking in their indecent exposure case. The victim then picked Beausoleil from a photo lineup.”
The victim, now 10, sat in the front row of the courtroom yesterday with her aunt and the father of the young girl in the Plaistow case. She had been playing hide-and-seek with her aunt in the store when Beausoleil approached her, repeatedly touched her shirt and exposed himself.
Last week, she spoke about the incident in court.
“This affected me,” the child said. “I will always have an image in my head.”
Her aunt and the other victim’s father said 15 to 30 years in prison wasn’t enough.
“The guy is totally a monster and I think he should get the maximum sentence,” the aunt said.
The father agreed.
“That’s not nearly enough the time to remove this individual from the community,” he said. “He has been a monster. He needs to be removed from society, your honor. We don’t want this to happen to us again or any other families.”
Outside the courtroom, the father said it had been a difficult ordeal but his daughter was coping.
“It’s been tough on her,” he said. “She’s my princess.”
Watkins said Beausoleil had a difficult childhood and was physically and emotionally abused by his stepfather. Beausoleil has a wife and two children — a young daughter and an 18-year-old son. His family did not attended the sentencing
“He is a victim,” Watkins said, saying Beausoleil welcomed sex offender treatment. The attorney recommended his client serve only seven and a half to 15 years in prison.
“He realizes he has some issues and would like to address those,” Watkins said.