Brattleboro man pleads guilty to assault
BRATTLEBORO -- A Brattleboro man has pleaded guilty to two charges in connection with an April assault on a woman who reported that she was beaten and raped in her apartment.
Gary Stroud, 49, entered guilty pleas to lewd and lascivious conduct and second-degree aggravated domestic assault in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division.
His sentencing is pending. Stroud's plea agreement calls for a mostly suspended prison sentence of up to eight years along with eight years of probation, court documents show.
Stroud remains imprisoned without bail, as he has been since his arrest.
Brattleboro police responded to the assault report on April 26, with the victim saying Stroud has entered her residence -- from which he has been barred by a no-trespass order -- earlier that day.
As a policy, the Reformer does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The woman said she grabbed her cordless phone to dial 911, but Stroud took the phone "and hit her on the head with it four or five times, breaking the phone," court documents say.
The victim reported that Stroud sexually assaulted her and then refused to leave her apartment for several hours.
At one point, according to a police affidavit filed at the time, the victim told Stroud that "I'm leaving. I don't care if I'm leaving dead or alive. You can kill me if you want to."
Stroud departed but soon returned, "beating on my door, and shook it until it opened," the woman told police.
He later departed, and the victim notified police and was treated at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.
Police said Stroud acknowledged sexual contact but claimed that he and the woman had "made love" on a couch. He also contended that the victim "had threatened to ‘set him up,' meaning get him in trouble with the police," the affidavit says.
Stroud had been convicted of violating an abuse-prevention order in 2006. He was sentenced to three to six months in prison, but that sentence was suspended and Stroud was placed on probation.
In this year's case, Stroud had tried to file motions on his own behalf, including an attempt to have all charges dismissed in October. Judge David Suntag ruled that Stroud, who was represented by a court-appointed attorney, "may not file such motions directly."
In exchange for Stroud's guilty pleas, the Windham County State's Attorney's office has agreed to dismiss six counts including unlawful trespass, interference with access to emergency services, first-degree aggravated domestic assault, domestic assault and stalking.
Stroud has agreed to a prison sentence of three to eight years, with all but 10 months suspended provided he complies with court-ordered conditions. That means he will have served all or most of his prison time when he is sentenced, depending on when that proceeding is scheduled.
His eight years of probation feature conditions including residing in a residence approved by a probation officer; obeying any curfew set by a probation officer; and having no contact in any way -- including in writing, by telephone, by e-mail or through a third person -- with the victim.
Stroud also must stay at least 300 feet away from the victim and cannot stalk her, court documents say. And he will have to abide by all sex-offender conditions recommended by the state Department of Corrections in a pre-sentence investigation.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.
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