EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 31, 2014

Windham man gets jail for sexual assault at bakery

Hand to spend year in jail

By Doug Ireland

---- — BRENTWOOD — A Windham man will spend a year in jail for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at a local bakery.

Matthew Hand, 20, of London Bridge Road received the one-year sentence Wednesday in Rockingham Superior Court in exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor sexual assault charge.

The assault occurred May 1 at Baked on Pastries on Indian Rock Road in Windham, according to Windham police Capt. Michael Caron.

Judge N. William Delker also gave Hand, who worked at the bakery, a suspended two- to four-year state prison sentence for felonious sexual assault as part of the plea agreement. That sentence was suspended for three years.

A third charge of aggravated felonious sexual court was not prosecuted. Hand must also receive sex offender treatment and be on probation for two years upon his release from jail.

The victim, now 16, told police that when she went to the shop to pick up a pie, Hand — an employee — brought her into an office. He then rubbed her thighs and said he wanted to have sex, according to court records.

The girl told police she repeatedly said no and told Hand to stop. Hand then grabbed her by the wrist and forced her to have sex in a bathroom, the girl said.

Hand told police the sex was consensual and that the girl gave him a hug when she left the store.

He was initially held on $10,000 cash bail following his arrest, Caron said previously. Hand spent 50 days in the county jail before being released last summer.

He was scheduled to go on trial Dec. 16, but the trial was canceled after his attorney, Arthur Gatzoulis, informed the court his client wanted to plead guilty.

If Hand were convicted at trial, he would have faced three and a half to seven years in prison on the felonious sexual assault charge and seven and a half to 15 years on the aggravated felonious sexual assault charge.