NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

August 8, 2013

Man charged in sex assault on girl, 7

Comes after report he took photo under skirt at market

HAVERHILL — Police said they have charged a 38-year-old Haverhill man after a report that he took a photo under the skirt of a 7-year-old girl in a supermarket.

Police Lt. Robert Pistone said the arrest happened last night, after investigators received several tips from the public about the man’s identity.

The tips came after a photo of a suspect appeared today on The Eagle-Tribune’s website. The photo was taken from a surveillance video in the Market Basket store in Westgate Plaza.

Pistone declined to release the man’s name last night, saying police were in the process of getting a search warrant for his home.

The man is charged with attempted indecent assault and battery on a person under 14, Pistone said. He is expected to be arraigned in Haverhill District Court this morning.

Pistone thanked the public for helping police on the case.

“We got a lot of tips,’’ he said. “We followed up on quite a few.’’

The incident leading to the arrest happened Monday about 1:30 p.m. The girl’s mother reported the man seemed to be stalking them in the store before reaching out with a cell phone and apparently taking a photo under the girl’s skirt.

The woman told police she became suspicious when a man began following her and her daughter around the grocery store. After a while she thought he was gone, so she continued with her shopping, she said.

A short time later, the woman and her daughter were looking at products in one of the store’s aisles, unaware the man had returned and was standing a few feet behind them, according to a police report. The man appeared to be waiting in a “stalking mode,” the police said. The woman said she grabbed her daughter and pulled her close.

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