(TheRedWire.com) – Sooner or later, justice has a way of catching up to many criminals. A Dover, New Hampshire man finally received justice after police charged him for sexually assaulting a young girl in late 2020. The judge presiding over the case sentenced 61-year-old Lawrence Pilla to up to 60 years in state prison on November 8, 2021. Prison officials say they discovered his dead body in his cell the following day. The convicted felon died in jail due to an apparent suicide.
According to prison officials, it wasn’t Pilla’s first attempt at suicide. When the allegations surfaced in October 2020, the convicted criminal attempted to take his own life. Lead prosecutor Emily Garod said she is heartbroken for the victim and Pilla’s family, who are all innocent victims in Pilla’s crimes.
Victim Fell Prey
Pilla worked for the Granite State College’s Child Welfare Education Program. At the time Pilla met the victim, she was only 12-years-old. Pilla began his assaults on the girl by asking her to touch him. Over time, the abuse escalated and lasted from more than two months but less than five years (a critical fact related to criminal charges).
In October 2020, Dover Police opened an investigation after law enforcement received a tip regarding Pilla. The department’s Special Investigations Unite obtained enough information that a judge issued a warrant for Pilla’s arrest. Police charged him with two counts of felony aggravated sexual assault and three counts of felonious sexual assault. On October 29, 2020, Pilla turned himself in to police without incident after learning about the sexual assault allegations from the victim.
Prosecutors said that the Pilla took advantage of the girl’s youth and groomed her for a sexual relationship. At the bail hearing, DA Garod stated that the victim believed she was Pilla’s girlfriend. The prosecutor added that the alleged criminal shouldn’t be released as he could endanger the young girl mentally and physically. According to court documents, the girl lived at Pilla’s home.
According to a longtime friend of Pilla, the man felt betrayed by his daughter as well. In sworn testimony, his daughter said she informed her father’s employer of the alleged sexual assault with the minor after she learned about the situation. She also told the court that the victim didn’t want the allegations disclosed over fears she would be sent back to her parent’s home.
After his death, Pilla’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment. On Monday, November 15, Garod said what Pilla did was incomprehensible. According to him, the only solace is the fact Pilla took responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty before his untimely death.
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