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Manchester man sentenced to 10 to 20 years in West High sex assault

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 22. 2017 8:50AM


MANCHESTER — Administrators at West High School were well aware of marijuana and cigarette smoking in a remote school hallway where a 14-year-old student was raped two years ago, the prosecutor in the case said Thursday.

In fact, the Manchester High School West school resource officer patrolled the hall regularly. When the rape was taking place, the officer had peered into the hallway through a glass window in the doors and checked the doors, said Sarah Warecki, the assistant Hillsborough County Attorney who prosecuted the case.

But the rapist, Bryan Wilson, who was then 17, knew that closing the doors would lock them, and the attack took place in an out-of-sight alcove, Warecki said.

"When (the school resource officer) looked through the window in the doors, he could only see the empty hallway because the attack was occurring in the alcove," Warecki said.

Wilson was sentenced Tuesday to 10 to 20 years in prison for the Sept. 30, 2015, rape. Wilson was convicted of a single count of aggravated felonious sexual assault after prosecutors had him certified as an adult.

Thursday was the first time that any law enforcement, prosecution or school official disclosed news of the attack. Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan released a statement about Wilson's sentence, which was rendered Tuesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court-North.

The victim testified at trial that Wilson overpowered her and forced her to perform several sex acts. She testified she was frozen in shock, cried and repeatedly told Wilson to stop. DNA testing confirmed the assault, the statement said.

"The victim was amazing in this case," Warecki said. "She suffered such a horrible and violent assault at such a young age, but was able to make it through the entire court process. She met every challenge with grace and dignity far beyond her years."

According to Hogan's office, the hallway is near the gymnasium. Witnesses said it was frequently used by students who cut class and smoked, and Warecki said school officials were aware of that behavior.

The hallway is now locked and no longer in use, Hogan's office said.

Christopher Motika, who was principal at West at the time of the attack, did not return a phone call or email sent to his office at the state Department of Education.

School Superintendent Dr. Bolgen Vargas said staff in individual schools take student safety seriously. He said no city schools have hideaway areas where students can congregate.

"You can rest assured, that is not occurring now," said Vargas, who became superintendent last fall.

Court records show that Wilson had a lengthy record, including arson and failure to follow juvenile court orders. He told police he had faced juvenile charges in Oklahoma and California. He had been suspended from Manchester schools at one point. And he was disruptive in school, singing vulgar songs, slamming locker doors and making animal noises.

"There are youngsters we as a society try to do everything we can to help. There are times we fail to succeed," Vargas said.

Police Chief Nick Willard said his officers arrested Wilson the day the rape took place and obtained a confession.

Willard took issue with the way that Hogan's office detailed the sexual assaults in the press release. He called it "grossly inappropriate."

"It's important not to revictimize and traumatize the victim," Willard said.

Hogan said: "It was an awful case so it's going to sound awful."

The jury found Wilson innocent of two other aggravated felonious sexual assault charges and a misdemeanor sexual assault charge. He can shave two years off his sentence if he participates in a sexual-offender program in prison. He can earn further reductions for participation in qualifying programs.

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