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Williamstown Man Sentenced in Child Sex Abuse Case

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A local man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield in connection with persuading a 16-year-old boy to travel to New York three years ago to engage in sexual activity.

Ronald S. Brown, 53, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 15 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release.

In November 2015, he pleaded guilty to one count of interstate travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and one count of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

Brown, a registered sex offender based upon a prior conviction for a sexual assault of a 14-year-old, engaged in thousands of online interactions with a 16-year-old boy between Dec. 27, 2012, and Jan. 19, 2013, to persuade him to run away from his Midwestern home to engage in sexual activity.  

On Jan. 7, 2013, Brown sent the boy a one-way ticket to fly to Newark International Airport in New Jersey, and on Jan. 19, 2013, Brown picked the boy up at the Newark airport, and then transported him to New York to engage in sex. On three separate dates, Brown also sexually exploited the teenager by producing visual images of the minor engaging in lewd and lascivious conduct.

The boy was recovered in New York after his mother alerted police that her son was missing and believed to be meeting with Brown.  During an interview on Jan. 20, 2013, Brown falsely told a federal agent that he believed the child to be 18 years old.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case was investigated with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police, the Williamstown Police Department and the New York State Police.  It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Ortiz's Springfield Branch Office.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. 

     

Williamstown Couple Arraigned in Hit-and-Run Incident

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An elderly Williamstown couple were arraigned Thursday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court on charges of covering up a motor vehicle accident that severely injured their neighbor.

John T. Gould and Sally J. Gould of White Oaks Roads enter not-guilty pleas on a host of charges related to the Feb. 9 hit-and-run incident in which pedestrian Cheryl J. Leclaire, 54, was found injured on North Hoosac Road.

Leclaire was taken to Berkshire Medical Center with serious injuries after a passing motorist found her lying by the side of the road.

Sally Gould, 71, was allegedly driving the car that hit Leclaire and her husband allegedly aided her in covering up the incident.

Sally Gould entered a not-guilty plea on leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

She and her husband, 69, both entered pleas of not guilty on single counts each of misleading a police officer or other person; conspiracy, to wit: misleading a police officer or other person; and conspiracy, to wit: filing a false motor vehicle claim; and two counts each of filing a false motor vehicle insurance claim.

Judge John A. Agostini released both Goulds on personal recognizance.

Police say that after Leclaire was struck on Feb. 9 while walking her dog, the Goulds gave false statements to investigators and filed false insurance claims. Those incidents are alleged to have occurred in Williamstown between Feb. 10 and Feb. 16. They were arrested in late February.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Williamstown Police Department and state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.
 

     

North Adams Man Injured in Hunting Incident

Staff Reports

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A North Adams man was reportedly shot on Monday morning while hunting off Hopper Road.

Michael Pontier, 50, was taken to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield by paramedics with Village Ambulance, according to Sgt. Scott E. McGowan. He reported that Williamstown Police responded to Hopper Road at about 7:25 a.m.

Pontier was later transferred to Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center with serious injuries.

Although police did not say what was being hunted, turkey season opened on Monday.

Police said the individual responsible remained at the scene and is cooperating with law enforcement. No name was provided for the individual. The investigation is being conducted by state Environmental Police, the state police's Berkshire CPAC Unit and the Williamstown Police.

     

Williamstown, Vermont Police Searching for Robbery Suspect

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

Vermont law enforcement were at the Stewarts Shop in Pownal after a robbery there on Saturday night.

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Multiple police agencies from two states Saturday night were investigating back-to-back armed robberies in Williamstown and Pownal, Vt.

At 8:22 p.m., a masked man entered the Spirit Shop at 280 Cole Ave., brandishing a handgun and demanding the clerk open the cash register, Williamstown Police reported in a news release.

After a brief argument, the armed man fled the store without acquiring any merchandise or money.

About two hours later, a similar incident occurred at the Stewarts Shop convenience store in Pownal, Vt., about a quarter mile north of the state line.

In that case, at about the 10:20 p.m., the suspected entered with a black handgun and demanded money from the store employees. Vermont State Police say he "fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of money."

No store personnel were injured in either incident.

Williamstown Police worked with Massachusetts State Police, North Adams Police and K-9 units from North Adams and Dalton in the Cole Avenue incident. At the Stewarts Shop, Vermont State Police and the Bennington County Sheriff were assisted by police from Williamstown and North Adams.

Police described the suspect as a thin white male, 5-foot-11 to 6-foot, in his mid 30s and wearing a dark gray hooded sweatshirt, black gloves, dark cargo pants and a camouflage hat and with a camouflage mask covering the majority of his face.

Police are asking anyone with information about either incident to call Sgt. Scot McGowan of the Williamstown Police Department at 413-458-5733 or the Vermont State Police barracks in Shaftsbury at 802-442-5421.

Updated with information from Vermont State Police.

     

Williamstown Police Dispel Hit & Run Rumor; Indicate Investigation Progress

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williamstown Police on Wednesday morning said no arrest has been made in the Feb. 9 incident that left a resident injured on North Hoosac Road.

Police Chief Kyle Johnson characterized as "total rumor" a report circulating around town that someone has been arrested in connection with the incident, a possible hit-and-run that sent Cheryl J. Leclaire, 54, of White Oaks Road, to Berkshire Medical Center in critical condition.

Asked about another part of the rumor — that a vehicle has been impounded in the case — Johnson again demurred.

"I won’t confirm or deny anything because I don't want to jeopardize the investigation," Johnson said.

Johnson said the police do hope to have information to release to the media as soon as Friday to bring "some closure" to the incident.

"But it’s not worth jeopardizing anything at this point," he said.

     
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