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Towle given 114 year sentence

Robert Towle (click for larger version)
March 10, 2010
LANCASTER — A Berlin man convicted last month of orchestrating numerous sexual assaults and illicit acts with an 11-year-old child was sentenced to the longest term Judge Peter Bornstein can remember ever handing down. A jury convicted Robert Towle, 38, of four counts of criminal liability for the conduct of another and four counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, last month. He was found guilty of engaging in a pattern of assault, with female accomplices against a child in Berlin from January 2004 to January 2006 while the victim was between 11 and 13 years old.

Judge Bornstein sentenced Mr. Towle on Thursday, March 3, in Cos Superior Court to 57 to 114 years in the N.H. State Prison, to commence that day, as a result of his crimes.

"There are some people that cannot be rehabilitated," said County Attorney Robert McKeel as his voice wavered and eyes grew watery stating that Mr. Towle is manipulative without regard for anyone's feelings. "No one is safe from Robert Towle."

Judge Peter Bornstein agreed with the state's recommended sentence, for what he referred to as "eight heinous crimes" that reached a level of "depravity that is hard to fathom." Judge Bornstein also made note that he did not recall in his career such a "lengthy" sentence.

In addition to being convicted of abuses perpetrated against the child by his own hand, he was also convicted for engaging Katie Wilmot, 28, of Berlin to act as his accomplice by having her engage in sexual acts with the child. Ms. Wilmot pled guilty on August 4, 2009 to aggravated sexual assault. A sentence of three and a half, to seven years was suspended, however, on the conditions of five years good behavior, five years of probation and that she testify truthfully in Mr. Towle's trial.

Despite Mr. McKeel's statement to the court that he did not believe Mr. Towle could be rehabilitated, he also recommended that while in jail Mr. Towle take part in sex offender programs and treatments. This left defense attorney Lincoln Soldati asking why.

"The bottom line is the state is recommending life without parole and recommends treatment while saying he is incapable of rehabilitation," said Mr. Soldati.

To which Mr. McKeel responded, "Even State Prison is a society."

Mr. Soldati's argued before the sentencing that his client was a man that he felt was worth salvaging and deserving of alcohol abuse treatment. "Any of the acts described occurred while (Mr. Towle) was under the influence," he said. He also noted that while incarcerated Mr. Towle had completed all programming that had been offered to him. Judge Bornstein upheld the request to recommend sex offender treatment for Mr. Towle.

Judge Bornstein also ordered Mr. Towle to have no contact with his infant son and pay no more than $5,000 in restitution to pay for counseling for the now 18 year old victim. The victim has already been undergoing counseling and is projected by Mr. McKeel to need to continue that treatment in the future.

"Someone with that nature should not be allowed anywhere outside of prison," said the victim who was pleased with the outcome.

Mr. Towle smiled slightly during the proceedings while his sentence was being discussed and chuckled loudly when Judge Bornstein was explaining his rights to reviews and appeals.

Mr. Towle had been incarcerated since 2006 on an habitual offender charge and a later related conviction on child pornography charges. Recently that pornography sentence was vacated by the N.H. Supreme Court, and the case was remanded for a new trial. Mr. McKeel announced at the close of the sentencing that he was restoring the charges of child pornography against Mr. Towle to the trial docket. Mr. Towle will be brought back to Cos Superior Court to answer for them at a later date.

Mr. Soldati commented that further prosecution was excessive in lieu of the life sentence. "The state already has a pound of flesh and then some," he said.

Pending a new trial on the pornography charge Mr. Towle's bail was set at $5,000 cash. He now needs to apply for new council, but has already begun serving his 57-114 year sentence in NH State Prison on the most recent conviction.

Littleton Chmber
Varney Smith
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