Man Sentenced  In Library Assault

  • Tyler M. Benson

Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

North Haverhill — A 19-year-old White River Junction man pleaded guilty on Monday to sexually and physically assaulting a girl at the Kilton Public Library in West Lebanon in August.

Tyler M. Benson will spend the next six months in jail as part of a plea agreement he took in Grafton Superior Court. He entered pleas to misdemeanor sexual and simple assault charges, Grafton County Attorney Lara Saffo said on Monday afternoon.

Benson must register as a sex offender for 10 years.

“The County Attorney’s Office feels this sentence of incarceration appropriately punishes Mr. Benson, and safeguards the community through sex offender evaluation, treatment and registration,” Saffo said via email. “The victim and her family were in agreement with the disposition of this matter.”

Benson formally received a 12-month sentence on the sexual assault charge, with six months to serve and six months suspended for two years on the condition of good behavior. He will remain on probation for two years, and must have no contact with the victim.

He also received a 12-month sentence on the simple assault charge, which was all suspended for two years.

A message left for Benson’s public defender, Adam Hescock, wasn’t immediately returned.

Benson originally faced several felony-level charges in connection with the Aug. 17 incident.

Police said he forced himself on the young teenage girl inside a bathroom at the library and choked her while sexually assaulting her, according to an affidavit filed in court.

A man inside the library called police to report some “unruly juveniles” inside the library, but when officers arrived, they didn’t find the teens in the place they were last reported seen, the affidavit said.

The man who called police knocked on the bathroom door, and someone inside responded with “just a minute.” Benson and the girl eventually came out of the bathroom, and both lied to police about their ages, according to the affidavit.

While inside the bathroom, Benson grabbed the girl’s buttocks and breasts, and when she told him to stop, he began choking her and put his hands on her mouth and throat. He then pulled down the girl’s shorts and assaulted her, according to the affidavit. She unsuccessfully tried to get away.

Benson told police after the incident that he put “his hand down (the girl’s) pants,” the affidavit said.

As a general practice, the Valley News doesn’t identify the victims of sex crimes. The girl was known to Benson.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.