Wardsboro man charged with sexual assault, faces life sentence

Saturday January 19, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- A Wardsboro man faces four felony charges -- including one that carries a possible life sentence -- after police accused him of sexually assaulting a juvenile.

Daniel S. Mager, 37, of Dump Road, is being held without bail following his arrest and arraignment in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division.

He is charged with repeated aggravated sexual assault of a child, a count that carries a prison sentence of 25 years to life. Mager also is charged with two counts of sexual assault of a victim less than 16 years old and one count of lewd-lascivious conduct with a child.

In court papers, state police Detective Sgt. Frank LaBombard said the investigation began in June after the juvenile and her mother reported the alleged assaults at the Brattleboro barracks.

The Reformer does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

The victim claimed she and Mager had sex "about 12 or 13 times" in the spring of 2012, police wrote in a court affidavit.

The victim also reported that Mager "told her he wanted to get married to her when she turned 16 so they could be together and have a life with each other," court papers say.

Mager acknowledged knowing the victim but claimed that any physical contact between them had not progressed beyond hugging, police said.

"Mager stated that he did not have sexual contact with (the victim) or touch her inappropriately at any time," police wrote in the affidavit.

The girl had told police that Mager had scars in his genital area. Investigators received a court order to take pictures of the suspect’s groin.

"While taking the photographs, I observed scars on his genitals and groin that appeared consistent with (the victim’s) statement," LaBombard wrote.

When questioned about the scars, Mager said he has photographs of the markings and speculated that the girl must have seen those photos without his knowledge, court papers say.

Mager was arraigned Thursday and appeared in court Friday for a weight of the evidence hearing. David Gartenstein, Windham County deputy state’s attorney, told Judge John Wesley that prosecutors have evidence against Mager including recorded interviews.

Wesley said it was "obvious" that there was sufficient admissible evidence for the case to proceed.

But the question of whether Mager should be released on bail and/or court-imposed conditions still remains. And the attorney who will be handling his case, Rutland-based Chris Montgomery, was not available for Friday’s hearing.

Mager told the judge and the attorney who represented him Friday that he wanted to wait for Montgomery to be present to proceed with bail arguments.

Gartenstein did not object to reconsidering bail at a future hearing. But Wesley said he wouldn’t consider any arrangements for Mager’s release from prison in the meantime.

"Mr. Mager will continue to be held without bail," Wesley said.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.


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