PLAISTOW — A convicted sex offender accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in the toy aisle of the local Walmart Sunday evening, was ordered held on $25,000 bail yesterday pending another court hearing next week.
Ronald Beausoleil, 33, of 972 Amesbury Road, Haverhill, has also been charged, along with an accomplice, with shoplifting spark plugs at the same store that night.
Beausoleil was arraigned yesterday morning by video from Rockingham County Jail on four charges, including two counts of touching the genitalia of a person under 13, one count of shoplifting, and one count operating a motor vehicle after revocation of his license.
Meanwhile, police in Plaistow said they would be seeking an arrest warrant for Sara Neddo, accusing her of working with Beausoleil in shoplifting items from the store by concealing them in the basket of her daughter’s baby carriage.
During his video arraignment before Salem District Court Judge Michael Sullivan, Beausoleil was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail pending a probable cause hearing March 18 in Plaistow District Court.
The prosecutor, Jill Cook, speaking on video from the Plaistow District Court, favored the high bail amount, saying, “we have serious concerns about the safety of the community” if Beausoleil were allowed to go free.
She noted that he is a “multi-state offender” with 10 cases against him, including a June 22, 1999 felony conviction out of Grafton Superior Court in Massachusetts on unauthorized theft which got him a 2- to 4-year state prison sentence. She said he was also convicted of felonious sexual assault, also out of Grafton Superior Court, which also got him a 2- to 4- year sentence in New Hampshire state prison.
Further, she said, he was convicted on two counts of a parole violation in 2007, for which he received a 11/2- to 3-year sentence. In March 2012, she said, he was charged in New York state with marijuana possession and driving while impaired from alcohol.
According to the Mass. Sex Offender Registry’s online database, 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. Haverhill Deputy Police Chief Donald Thompson confirmed yesterday that Beausoleil is registered as a sex offender in Haverhill.
“He is required to register as a sex offender,” Cook said, noting that the day after he allegedly groped the girl at Walmart, he returned to the store, where he was arrested by Rockingham County Sheriff Dep. Matthew Caracciolo.
In addition, according to a Feb. 3 story in The Eagle-Tribune, Beausoleil, reportedly living in Lynn at the time, was charged by police in Methuen with driving under the influence of alcohol, operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license, and failure to yield to an emergency vehicle after he slammed his car into a police cruiser, sending both him and Officer Arthur Hardy to the hospital with injuries. He has been summonsed to Lawrence District Court to face those charges.
When asked yesterday by the judge if he had anything to say, Beausoleil said only that he hoped to post bail and be released so that he could get out, get to work, and take care of his wife and daughter.
“My wife is having hard times now,” he said.
He told the judge he has been living in Haverhill for “less than a month” and is a self-employed contractor, working on kitchen and bathroom remodeling jobs.
Cook requested conditions of bail, including no contact with the victim, no contact with anyone under 17, a waiver of extradition and no possession of any firearms or dangerous weapons.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by Plaistow Detective George Wickson, police got a call from Walmart at around 8:30 p.m. Sunday on a report of a possible sexual assault on a 9-year-old girl.
Police said the girl told them she had wandered from her mother into the toy aisle when she was approached by a man who touched her in her “privates.”
She pushed the man away and left the aisle to seek help, and spoke to the store manager, who then called police and reunited the girl with her mother.
According to store videos, the girl is seen walking down the toy aisle, followed shortly after by the suspect. About 4 minutes later, the girl walked out of the aisle and went toward the front of the store. Less than a minute later, the man could be seen leaving the store. Once he got outside, he ran toward his vehicle, a gray, regular-cab Chevy pickup truck.
Police also watched the video from earlier in the evening, at the point the suspect entered the parking lot. According to police observations, Beausoleil sat in his truck for a while, and appeared to be waiting for someone. At some point, he began conversing with a woman in an adjacent or nearby car, who had a child in the car with her.
The woman, pushing the child in a baby carriage, entered the store first, followed by Beausoleil. According to the affidavit, they mostly shopped on their own, but could be seen on the video meeting several times in the store and concealing items in the carriage. Later, the woman is seen on videotape leaving the store, but not paying for the items in the carriage.
Later interviewed by police, Sara Neddo told them that she could not believe the accusations against Beausoleil and that it could not have happened because they were together at Walmart.
When asked about the stolen items, she said it was “only spark plugs” and that she was willing to pay for them after the fact. Police rejected that idea, advising her they would seek a warrant for her arrest.
Police also interviewed Beausoleil after his arrest Monday night at the same Walmart where the alleged molestation and shoplifting incidents occurred.
He denied the sexual assault, admitting he was a sex offender. “That’s the reason why he would never do that,” police recounted him saying.
When police showed him the video, and that Haverhill police were also seeking to speak with him, he requested a lawyer and the interview was ended, police said.
Plaistow police yesterday acknowledged Detectives Wickson and Patrick Schiavone of Plaistow, the Haverhill police, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, Management and Security for Walmart, and all of the many media outlets who helped get the information out to the public so quickly.