Mass. man accused of sexual assault of 11-year-old in Bennington


NORTH ADAMS, Mass. - A North Adams man accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Bennington waived his extradition rights Wednesday in Northern Berkshire District Court and is scheduled to answer the charges in Vermont Superior Court at a later date.

On Wednesday morning, Bennington Police Detective Anthony Silvestro called North Adams Police to ask they search an Eagle Street apartment for Jesse LaFountain, 24. Within minutes, NAPD located and arrested

LaFountain, according to an affidavit by North Adams Police Detective Kelly Wisniowski. He was held by Massachusetts authorities without a right to bail.

The Bennington County State's Attorney's Office has filed charges of aggravated sexual assault on a victim under 13, aggravated repeated sexual assault, and repeated aggravated sexual assault of a child against LaFountain. Judge Nancy Corsones found probable cause on the charges Tuesday and issued a warrant for his arrest. He has not appeared in Vermont court, has not entered a plea, and according to the Department of Corrections is not yet in Vermont custody. According to an affidavit by Silvestro, on May 8 the Vermont Department for Children and Families notified him of a 14-year-old girl who had disclosed being sexually assaulted by LaFountain when she was 11.

The girl told police that LaFountain had come to live with her family in Bennington. On the night he turned 21, a party was held during which he pulled her into a room and tried to get her onto a bed. He stopped when he heard a noise in the hall.

She said on several occasions LaFountain coerced her into a downstairs bathroom where he sexually assaulted her while she tried to push him off. According to her, when she would get a stomachache, LaFountain would punch her in the stomach because he thought she was pregnant. The girl's sister and mother were interviewed and told police they only recently learned of this from her.

LaFountain agreed to let police speak to him at his apartment in North Adams, and explained how he had come to live with the family in Bennington for a time. He said he thought he got along well with all of them, but later came to think the parents did not like him. LaFountain said the girl followed him around often and made him uncomfortable. Silvestro had asked him if he thought the girl might have had a crush on him, and LaFountain said he thought that was possible.

According to LaFountain, the girl would follow him into the downstairs bathroom while he was doing laundry and not leave. He said this made him uncomfortable as well. LaFountain told police he did not remember any sexual activity between them and said he thought perhaps he should speak with a lawyer. The interview with police ended there.

LaFountain has no criminal history in Vermont.


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