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Massena police make arrest in 2009 sexual assault on woman in her 80s

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MASSENA - A recently submitted DNA sample for another criminal conviction connected a Massena man to the August 2009 sexual assault of a Massena woman in her 80s living in the Beach Street area.

Village police charged Jason D. Tassie, 29, of 8 Tracy St., Massena, with felony counts of first-degree burglary and second-degree aggravated sexual assault Saturday. Police said the victim in the case was treated at Massena Memorial Hospital she had received in the Aug. 8, 2009 attack.

Tassie was arraigned by Massena Town Justice Gerald P. Sharlow and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $100,000 cash or $200,000 bond. The court also signed a temporary order of protection directing Tassie to have no contact with the alleged victim and scheduled a preliminary hearing for Wednesday morning.

Police Chief Timmy J. Currier said the case demonstrated the value of DNA evidence. “As technology has evolved, law enforcement has improved our use of it. Victims of cases like this one have a greater chance in seeing justice done. This case illustrates just that. Thankfully this crime will not go unsolved, and this defendant can now be held accountable for this despicable act,” he said.

Massena Village Police Investigator Joseph W. Brown said evidence collected at the time of the attack had been placed in the DNA data base. He said Tassie had recently submitted DNA evidence for a November 2006 conviction for second-degree menacing.

“That sample was also entered into the data base and within the last week we were notified they had discovered a match between the John Doe sample submitted in 2009 and the offender sample recently obtained from Mr. Tassie,” he said.

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

Police said at the time of the incident the assailant was believed to be a white male approximately 30 years of age who wore dark clothing and a red bandana over his face. He was described as being between 5’6” and 5’8”, approximately 165 pounds, with dark, short hair and silver-colored round rimmed glasses that appeared to be too small for his face, which the victim described as pudgy with puffy cheeks.

Village police had issued a warning urging residents to take the same safety precautions they should be taking every day, such as locking doors and windows in their homes, making sure properties are well lit, leaving exterior lights on at night, trimming shrubs or bushes so burglars cannot hide in their shadows and reporting any and all suspicious noise and activity to the police.

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