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BENNINGTON — A Bennington man was sentenced to five years to life for sexual assault, while charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and failing to register as a sexual offender were dropped so that the victim would not have to testify at trial.

Eric Wade, 34, was sentenced in Bennington Superior Court on Friday after a plea deal in the case.

Wade has been at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland since his arrest three years ago. He will have to serve a minimum of five years behind bars while receiving treatment for sex offenders and mental health issues.

The Department of Corrections will have the authority to extend the incarceration period if Wade does not comply or fails to finish his treatment programs.

He will then be released to a lifetime on parole and sex offender registry obligation.

According to police affidavits, Wade abused the victim on numerous occasions over a period of two-plus years. He faced a maximum of a life term and a possible $55,000 fine if convicted of the original charges.

Wade had previously been convicted of sexual assault and lewd and lascivious charges in 2009.


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