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Athol man sentenced to state prison in rape, kidnapping case

GREENFIELD — An Athol man convicted of rape, kidnapping and indecent assault and battery charges was sentenced to six to 10 years in state prison Thursday.

Seth Clarkson, 23, was convicted of three counts of rape, one charge of kidnapping, and indecent assault and battery, stemming from a single series of events in April of 2011 in Athol. At the time, the female victim was 17.

Clarkson took the victim into a bathroom, where he kept her for about 10 minutes, and raped her in several ways, according to First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne.

Clarkson was convicted by jury Wednesday, in Superior Court.

Judge Daniel A. Ford sentenced Clarkson to Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the rape and indecent assault and battery charges, and three to five years in Cedar Junction on the charge of kidnapping. All sentences will run concurrently.

Prosecuting attorney Carrie Russell asked that Clarkson be given a 13-to-15-year state prison sentence, and placed on probation for 10 years after his release.

The sentence, she said, was warranted by the “nefarious nature of the crimes he was found guilty of.”

She read from the victim’s impact statement after recommending the sentence.

“Seth Clarkson ripped my life apart,” she read. “I’m still picking up the pieces, and I still have flashbacks, and scream out in fear.”

She went on to chronicle a pattern of depression the victim underwent since the attack.

“I hope what he did haunts him for the rest of his life,” she continued. “I’ve never known such a coward. I hope he gets the maximum punishment, and I hope I become an example to others, and encourage them to speak out.”

Defense attorney Rachel Weber asked that her client be given three to five years in state prison, to be followed by four years of probation.

Clarkson, she said, only had one previous criminal case, for driving with a suspended license, which was continued without a finding.

The sentence she recommended, and the fact that he must live with what he’s done, were ample punishment, she said.

Judge Ford cautioned Clarkson that, since he had been convicted of three counts of rape, a subsequent conviction would result in the maximum sentence, currently set at 25 years in state prison, without possibility of parole, probation, work release or furlough.

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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