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Man, 72, out on bail, accused of stalking children in Bethel

  • Leonard Rix (Vermont State Police photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/10/2020 9:52:48 PM
Modified: 7/10/2020 9:52:36 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A 72-year-old Randolph-area man has been released on conditions after pleading not guilty to stalking two boys over the course of three years.

Leonard Rix, of Braintree, Vt., was arraigned Friday in Windsor Superior Court on two felony counts of aggravated stalking. Prosecutors asked that he be held without bail, but Judge Elizabeth Mann released him on conditions, including an order to have no contact with the boys or their family. He also has a 24-hour curfew and is barred from visiting any schools or playgrounds, according to court documents.

Vermont State Police say Rix met the two boys and their parents while they were all attending a Vermont Technical College basketball game in 2017. One of the boys was younger than 13 and the other was younger than 16 at the time.

Rix “showed interest” in the younger boy, and made both parents uncomfortable, according to an affidavit written by Vermont State Police trooper Christopher Blais.

The parents told police that Rix found the family’s address in Bethel and sent the boys cards and presents, including a cake over the holidays, the affidavit said. He also started getting into the family’s home while they were away, at one point leaving a stack of magazines inside, and he bought a subscription to Sports Illustrated for one of the boys, according to the affidavit.

One boy told police that Rix started showing up at his away basketball games and that he told the boy that he reminded Rix of himself, the affidavit said.

The boys’ father confronted Rix when he showed up for a birthday party for one of the boys in summer 2019, and told him to stop contacting the family. The parents were granted a “no stalking” order against Rix a few months after the incident.

While investigating the case, police learned that Rix has a prior conviction for lewd and lascivious behavior in Massachusetts in 1968, according to the affidavit.

Then, in 1986 in Massachusetts, he was arraigned on 45 charges, including 23 counts of rape of a child and introducing a child to prostitution, according to the affidavit. The document did not say what the outcome of the case was, and prosecutors declined to comment on Rix’s history.

He also has a history of stalking children in Vermont 20 years ago, according to the affidavit. In 1998 he was issued trespass notices from Vermont schools in Concord, Rochester and Randolph after he frequently showed up to sporting events and school plays, the affidavit said.

In one 1998 case that bears similarities to the recent incident, Rix met two children, found out where they lived, and would call them on the phone and ask their parents if he could come over, the affidavit said. Over the next few years, several other children told police Rix had followed them repeatedly in Chelsea and Concord, Vt. according to police.

“Mr. Rix selects his victims at youth/High School sporting events, attempts to contact them and follow them to build trust and gain further access,” the affidavit said.

If convicted, Rix could face up to five years in prison for each count.

Anna Merriman can be reached at amerriman@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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