GPS tracks man accused of assaulting 5-year-old girl


Twice Westport Police made appointments this week to meet with a Level 3 sex offender about new Westport accusations against him and twice he was a no-show.

After Robert K. Assad, 37, of 25 Borden St., Westport, missed an agreed-upon Wednesday morning appointment with police at his parents' house, the search began.

He didn't prove difficult to find, said Westport Detective-Sergeant Tony Cestodio, thanks to the court-ordered GPS device strapped to his ankle.

Fall River District Court Probation Officer Mark Costa was able to pinpoint the location of the GPS device to the Shangri-La Motel in Seekonk. Officers arrived within minutes but Mr. Assad had just left.

This time, GPS tracked him moving at about 3 mph not far away. Officers spotted him walking behind the Sam's Club store about 500 yards from the motel, took him into custody and then drive him to Westport for booking.

Level 3 is the most serious of the sex offender designations, given to those deemed most likely to be a threat for repeat offenses, Det. Cestodio said.

Mr. Assad earned that status for a number of sex-related offenses, including cases involving children in Tiverton and in Bristol County, Mass.

Det. Cestodio confirmed that this latest case involves "a 5-year-old child who is known to the family." He was charged in this instance with indecent assault on a child under age 14 (subsequent offense).

According to information disclosed at his Wednesday arraignment in Fall River and reported by the Fall River Herald, the 5-year-old girl told investigators that Mr. Assad had exposed himself to her last year and asked her to touch him. Mr. Assad has denied the accusations.

Judge Robert Welsh III ordered that Mr. Assad be held on $100,000 cash bail, an amount he said was justified by Mr. Assad's lengthy criminal record. He is also being held on possible probation violation matters linked to past convictions.

These include a 2013 Taunton conviction for indecent assault on a child under 14 for which he was sentenced to serve 14 months of a 2 1/2 year sentence.

He is also on seven years supervised probation for a Tiverton case in which he was charged with indecent assault on a child — fondling a 12-year-old girl.

The Herald also reported that he had been convicted of child rape and abuse in 1993 and had also served five years in state prison on a Bristol County (Mass.) arson conviction.

At Wednesday's bail hearing, Mr. Assad's attorney, Nicholas Athanassiou requested $25,000 bail, the Herald reported, citing his strong ties to the Westport community — he graduated from Westport High School in 1995, worked there as a mechanic, is the father of a teenage boy and has family in he area.

Det. Cestodio said that Mr. Assad, who has worked as a small engine mechanic, is not permitted to be in unsupervised contact with minors, according to terms of his sex offender status.

The investigation involved the Fall River Police Major Crimes Division, the Mass. Department of Children Families, Seekonk Police and Westport Police.


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