PITTSFIELD — A 38-year-old Holyoke man was sentenced to state prison last month, after pleading guilty to six sexual assault charges.
Berkshire Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini adopted the state’s sentencing recommendation and ordered Ronald L. Vachon to serve four to six years in state prison. Vachon’s attorney, public defender Katherine K. Grubbs, had asked the court to sentence Vachon to two to four years in state prison for an incident that occurred six years ago.
Agostini said he found the commonwealth’s recommendation reasonable, considering that the mandatory minimum sentence for two of the charges, aggravated rape of a child with a 10-year age difference, is 10 years.
“I think it’s very fair, considering the seriousness of the charge,” Agostini said.
According to Assistant District Attorney Andrew P. Giarolo, Vachon sexually assaulted a girl at a residence on Florida Mountain on Sept. 13, 2015. Vachon, an amateur tattoo artist, had gone to the residence to give the girl’s mother a tattoo.
As it got late, the girl’s mother told Vachon he could stay overnight in a spare bed in her daughter’s room. Vachon and the girl, who was 12 or 13 at the time, talked for awhile before the sexual assault took place, Giarolo said. Vachon then began sending the girl explicit messages and images, according to the police report.
The last message was sent in 2016. Vachon wasn’t arrested until Sept. 28, 2017, when he was picked up on a warrant in Northampton. Vachon, a former Greenfield resident, cooperated with state troopers who interviewed him at the Northampton barracks, Giarolo said.
The victim did not appear in court. Giarolo said she still is traumatized by the incident. Reading from a written statement provided by the victim, Giarolo said she has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and bouts of depression, almost didn’t graduate from high school and has yet to attend college.
“I’ve put my life on hold countless times trying to deal with this,” Giarolo said the victim wrote.
Grubbs asked the court for a lighter sentence for Vachon, citing his minimal previous criminal history, and his cooperation with police.
“He understands the seriousness of the situation,” Grubbs said. “He’ll be living with this decision for the rest of his life.”
Vachon’s sister, mother and grandmother were in court on the day that he was sentenced. After sentencing, one of his relatives said “I love you” to Vachon as he was led to a holding cell in the back of the courtroom.
Besides the aggravated rape charges, Vachon was charged with four counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. One count of disseminating obscene material to a minor was dismissed at the commonwealth’s request.