Otis man guilty in 2011 rape of 5-year-old girl
PITTSFIELD — An Otis man who has been accused of multiple assaults on young girls faces life in prison after being convicted of raping a 5-year-old girl in the summer of 2011.
Stephen L. Hyland, 34, was found guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Monday of rape of a child with force, intimidation of a witness and open and gross lewdness.
Testimony in his trial began last Thursday. The jury delivered its verdict after a total of about six hours of deliberations.
He is being held without the right to bail pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. May 24.
Hyland was convicted of assaulting the girl in the area of the Otis reservoir when she and Hyland were alone.
During that trip, prosecutors said, Hyland told the girl to stop and pulled down her pants and underwear and assaulted her.
The assault took place near the beach access on Hayre Island Road in Otis.
He then exposed himself to the girl and asked her to touch him, which she declined to do, and then warned the girl not to tell anyone.
The girl kept the assault to herself until August 2016, when she wrote a note to her mother, divulging her secret for the first time.
Hyland has another pending open case in Berkshire Superior Court on a charge of indecent assault and battery on a person under 14 and has been accused of several prior instances of sexual contact with young females.
In 2000, Hyland disclosed he had been having sex with a 16-year-old female, investigators say. That case was not pursued because the girl's family chose not to prosecute.
The case did, however, generate a report from staff of the Bennington School in Vermont, where Hyland had been receiving mental health treatment, that raised concerns about the lack of progress he'd made, according to court papers. The report said he may "present a serious risk to the community when released."
In 2013, an 11-year-old girl reported Hyland had assaulted her while he was working as a lift operator at the Otis Ridge Ski Area. The girl in that case declined to prosecute.
In 2014, the state Department of Children and Families received complaints that Hyland had touched the genitals of a 6-year-old girl on two occasions in January of that year.
At that time, the girl's mental health counselors advised against the child's participation in criminal action against Hyland, police said.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, at @BobDunn413 on Twitter and 413-496-6249.
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