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- Fire Reports | July 12-18, 2018
DANBURY — A Connecticut Superior Court judge on June 6 sentenced Richard Saunders, 73, of Huntingtown Road, Newtown, to an effective six-year prison term for convictions on seven charges involving sex crimes against four children.
Previously, Saunders pleaded guilty to the seven charges, including multiple counts of risk of injury to a child and third-degree sexual assault.
According to court papers, Saunders admitted to Newtown police in July 2017 that he committed the sexual offenses against four children, all under the age of 16, during the past several years.
As a result of their investigation into complaints filed by those children’s parents, Newtown police in July 2017 arrested Saunders on a warrant. At that time, police lodged 12 charges against Saunders, including four counts each of risk of injury to a child, illegal sexual contact, and fourth-degree sexual assault. Initially, Saunders pleaded not guilty to all 12 charges.
The parents’ complaints to police basically stated that Saunders had been inappropriately touching the children and exposing himself to them, according to court papers. Locations where the incidents occurred included Saunders’ residence, a victim’s residence, two businesses in Brookfield, and Hershey, Penn., according to court documents.
According to the court papers, when interviewed by police in July 2017, Saunders said, “I inappropriately touched… I take full responsibility. They’re just kids. It was just my stupidity, and not having enough strength to resist and not do it.”
In court on June 6, on each of the four risk of injury convictions, Saunders received a ten-year prison sentence, suspended after four years, plus 15 years of probation to follow. On each of the three third-degree sexual assault convictions, Saunders received a five-year prison sentence, suspended after two years, plus five years of probation. The judge’s structuring of Saunders’ sentence results in an effective prison term of six years, plus other penalties.
Saunders pleaded guilty to the seven charges in April in a plea agreement. Prosecutors sought an eight-year prison term, but allowed Saunders’ attorney to argue for less prison time.
On June 12, Saunders was being held at the Bridgeport Correctional Center with a maximum release date of June 5, 2024.
School Resource Officer William Chapman, acting as the Newtown Police Department’s youth officer, investigated the complaints against Saunders.