WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A sex offender from Springfield who allegedly molested as many as eight young girls will spend a decade behind bars and likely remain on probation for the rest of his life as the result of a plea agreement that has been years in the making.
The case against Anthony Chase, who is now 39, had been working its way through the legal system since his arrest six years ago and was nearly resolved with a plea deal in 2015 but Judge Nancy Corsones balked at the last moment, saying she could not accept the proposed seven-year jail term because “When all is said and done I’ve got to go home and face myself in the mirror.”
The new agreement, which was concluded last week, calls for a shorter sentence on paper than the 2015 proposal but it will result in more actual jail time for Chase and once he is released it will keep him, as a registered sex-offender, on probation “until further order of the court.”
Judge Timothy Tomasi agreed last week to accept the new agreement which imposed a 20-year-to-life term upon Chase with all but 10 years of that time suspended. Chase will get credit for the time he has served in pre-trial detention since his arrest in 2012, meaning that he could be released in four years time but only if he successfully completes sex offender treatment programs offered by the Corrections Department first.
Chase seen at the time of his arrest in the fall of 2012
Although Chase was also convicted of a series of lewd & lascivious conduct charges against other girls, the principal charge against him was a sexual assault against a child that resulted in the overall sentence which was imposed last week.
Speaking from the bench, Judge Tomasi said, “It’s a difficult circumstance, a difficult case. It’s a very significant sentence for a very significant crime that has obviously had a pretty severe impact on (the victim). It’s certainly my hope that this will bring some closure to (her) and allow her to move on; although, I’m sure that will take time.”
A victim’s advocate read an impact statement on behalf of the girl, now a teenager, who was seated in the courtroom with family members during the sentencing.
“You brought so much pain to me at an age when I could not understand what was happening to me. It took me over seven years to tell someone what you did to me because I was scared,” the girl wrote, adding, “I suffer problems talking with older men. There are times I can’t leave my house because I’m still learning to deal with all of the reoccurring nightmares. I hate every bit of you. I hate you with every bit of me. I believe you deserve so much more for what you did. I hope every day you wake up knowing you are a monster and a disgrace.”
Chase, a life-long resident of Vermont, had no prior criminal history at the time of his arrest and had been working as a taxi driver in the Ludlow area. He told investigators that he himself had been the victim of what was described as “severe sexual abuse” when he was growing up.
During a hearing three years ago the father of one of the young girls who was victimized told the court, “It takes a monster to do what he did,” adding that before the allegations came to light he’d considered Chase to be one of his best friends and had unhesitatingly put his children in Chase’s care thinking they would be safe.
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