BENNINGTON>> A man accused of molesting a child he lived with, has been found guilty.
Shawn M. Bellanger, 36, of Hudson Falls, N.Y. and formerly of Bennington, was convicted by a jury Wednesday in Vermont Superior Court. A sentencing hearing will be held sometime in March.
The jury found Bellanger guilty on single counts of repeated aggravated sexual assault, and lewd lascivious conduct with a child, both being felonies. Bellanger was not guilty on a count of voyeurism for a first offense.
Single counts of aggravated sexual assault on a victim less than 13 years old and repeated aggravated sexual assault were dismissed by the state.
According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro, he spoke to a 10-year-old girl who described multiple occasions when Bellanger would touch her or sexually assault her. The girl was nine at the time of the incidents and Bellanger was living with her family in Bennington.
The girl told police that Bellanger would perform sex acts on her. According to her, she made it clear to him a number of times she did not want to participate, but he would force her. She indicated that Bellanger took pictures of her on a mobile device and refused to delete them when she asked. She said Bellanger had asked her not to say anything, but ultimately told a friend and then a parent.
Silvestro spoke with another girl, age 14, who said she stayed the night at the place where Bellanger was living and in the morning used the bathroom to change her clothes and go to school. The girl told police she discovered Bellanger's phone was in a laundry basket beneath some clothes and was recording her through the mesh. She said Bellanger denied knowing it was there.
In the affidavit regarding the voyeurism charge, Silvestro writes that he and a Federal Bureau of Investigations agent spoke to Bellanger in New York. Bellanger told police he had used the bathroom before the girl and that he used the phone to record himself singing. He said the phone must have fallen in the basket. He said the girl showed him the phone that had recorded her, but he deleted the file. Bellanger is being represented by the Bennington County Public Defender's Office. He is being held without bail at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979