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Massena man gets 15 years in prison for2009 assault on elderly woman

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CANTON — A Massena man who pleaded guilty in August to sexually assaulting an 86-year-old woman after breaking into her home in 2009 was sentenced to 15 years in state prison Monday in St. Lawrence County Court.

Jason D. Tassie, 30, of 124 Main St., was sentenced by Judge Jerome J. Richards to the prison time and ordered to pay $1,425 in court charges.

The crime went unsolved for three years until Tassie was accused of exposing himself outside another Massena woman’s home and police linked his DNA from that crime to the sexual assault.

The daughter of the assault victim read a statement from her mother at the sentencing: “I don’t want compensation. I am safe in knowing that he will behind bars for 15 years.”

Tassie wept when he addressed the court, but received no sympathy from the judge.

“These two women didn’t deserve or ask for this,” Judge Richards said. “You have a serious problem and the only thing that is going to help you is to tear the skin off and deal with the ugly person underneath.”

Tassie had pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony. That charge allows for a maximum sentence of 25 years and a minimum of five years.

The plea deal came July 31 before jury selection and the day after JudgeRichards’s decision to allow DNA to be used in the case which linked Tassie to an August 2009 assault of an 86-year-old Massena woman living in Massena’s Beach Street area.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve has said the plea negotiation was entered into with the full participation and agreement of the victim and her family.

“It spared her the stress and anxiety of going through that trial process and going through a very traumatic event in her life,” Ms. Duve said at the time of the plea.

Judge Richards filed his decision on what evidence couldbe used after 2 weeks of pretrial evidence suppression hearings arguing that Tassie’s DNA had been obtained illegally by Massena police due to a mistakeby a court clerk.

Tassie was represented byattorney Mary E. Rain. Ms. Rain said if Tassie had decided to go to trial and had been found guilty on all three charges that he was facing, he could have been sentenced to a maximum of 47 years in state prison.

Tassie’s decision to plead guilty to the first of the three charges he was facing, which included two felony counts of sexual assault, instead of going to trial, was made after a meeting in Judge Richards’s chambers with the Ms. Duve.

The Massena man who had been charged last year with a 2009 assault on a Massena woman in her 80s, was also charged with exposing himself to a woman in July 2012.

The Massena Police Department Investigations Unit charged Tassiewith a misdemeanor count of third-degree criminal trespass and a exposure of a person.

Police Chief Timmy J. Currier said the arrest was a result of an investigation that began at 11:45 p.m. July 26, 2012 when a female reported to police that a man was standing outside her back patio door exposing his private parts.

Mr. Currier said that DNA results returned from the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center were used to confirm the perpetrator’s identity and support criminal charges.

Tassie, then listing an 8 Tracy St., Massena, address had been charged in late September 20`` with felony counts of first-degree burglary and second-degree aggravated sexual assault after a DNA test for another criminal conviction linked him to an August 2009 assault of a Massena woman in her 80s living in the Beach Street area.

Police said last year that evidence collected at the time of the attack had been placed in the DNA database. Tassie had submitted DNA evidence for a November 2006 conviction for second-degree menacing, and police were notified in September 2011 of a match between the John Doe sample submitted in 2009 and the offender sample obtained from Tassie.

Police said at the time of the incident the woman was alone in her home shortly before 10 p.m. Aug. 8, 2009, a Saturday when an assailant entered her unlocked residence and assaulted her.

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