Tilton man faces 18 to 36 years in prison for sexual assault

  • Charles Beckley is led away by court officers after his plea and sentencing on sexual assault charges at Belknap County Superior Court in Laconia on Wednesday, October 25, 2017. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Tilton man accused of sexual assault took a plea deal Wednesday saying he was not going to put his teenage victim through the difficulties of a trial.

“I screwed up,” Charles Beckley, 54, told a judge Wednesday. “People put trust in me, and that trust was broken. I knew better.”

Beckley was sentenced in Belknap County Superior Court in Laconia to 18 to 36 years in state prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting a 13-year-old and photographing the abuse. He also faces additional suspended prison time. As part of the plea deal, Beckley is eligible to have his minimum sentence reduced by four years upon successful completion of the prison’s sex offender treatment program.

However, the four-year reduction is not a guarantee, said Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau, who presided over the hearing. She explained that the state’s Department of Corrections will determine when it can accommodate Beckley for participation in the sex offender program. Beckley is also eligible to receive additional time off his minimum sentence if he completes other rehabilitative and educational programs.

He pleaded guilty Wednesday to a total of eight charges: one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, three counts of misdemeanor sexual assault, and two counts each of manufacture of child sexual abuse images and felonious sexual assault. He must register as a sex offender for life and is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 16.

Beckley, a father of two sons, was previously employed as the transfer station manager in Canterbury. He has no prior criminal record.

Tilton police began investigating Beckley in May after a woman reported that he had confided in her about the sexual abuse of the 13-year-old, according to an affidavit prepared by Detective Bryan Kydd-Keeler. As part of that investigation, police spoke with other young women known to Beckley, including a teenager who told authorities that Beckley had inappropriately touched her on several occasions in late 2016.

A grand jury indicted Beckley this summer on several sexual assault charges involving the 13-year-old. The girl disclosed during a forensic interview a pattern of sexual abuse that she said began in February and lasted several months, according to authorities.

Detectives executed a search warrant of Beckley’s Grange Road apartment in May and found sexually explicit photographs of the girl, Assistant Belknap County Attorney Melinda Siranian told the court Wednesday.

The victim and her family were present for Beckley’s sentencing but chose not to speak. Siranian said she’d had extensive conversations with the girl, who was in favor of the pretrial resolution.

“I’m very impressed with the resiliency of both of these young ladies,” Siranian said of the 13-year-old and the other teenager who disclosed.

Nadeau echoed that sentiment prior to handing down Beckley’s prison sentence.

“I do want to say to the victims that you have amazing courage and amazing strength and amazing character, so don’t ever forget that,” she said. “This is the beginning of the hard work, I’m sure, but I want to give you credit because I think what you did is really hard.”

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)