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Charlestown man sentenced to prison time after child sex sting

Staff Report
Published: 12/12/2019 10:01:36 PM
Modified: 12/12/2019 10:01:25 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — A Charlestown man who was arrested in the spring for trying to solicit sex from minors over the internet has been ordered to spend a year in the House of Corrections.

Richard Balla, 51, pleaded guilty to two counts of felonious attempted sexual assault and one count of prohibited use of a computer in Grafton Superior Court on Thursday. As part of the plea deal, Balla was ordered to spend a year in prison, starting Jan. 2, for the latter count. The felonious attempted sexual assault counts carry sentences of 3½ to seven years in prison, which were suspended for 10 years, according to prosecutors.

Balla was one of 12 men arrested in May during a three-day investigation headed up by the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The men tried to meet up with juveniles over a social media website, but they arrived to find police instead, according to a news release at the time.

Three of those men were arrested in the Upper Valley by Lebanon police, including Balla. Another one of those men arrested in the Upper Valley, 34-year-old Jake Clarke, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to one year in the House of Corrections in September.

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