ELIZABETH – An Elizabeth man has been convicted of sexually assaulting two female acquaintances six months apart in 2004, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
A Union County jury deliberated for more than two full days following a three-week trial before finding Clarence Beckett, 33, guilty of two charges of second-degree sexual assault and two charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.
The date was Jan. 18, 2004 when Beckett sexually assaulted his first victim, an Irvington resident who was 26 at the time, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Rosenthal, who prosecuted the case. The assault took place at Beckett’s Division Street apartment, after which the victim immediately called police, Rosenthal said.
Beckett was free on bail at the time of the second sexual assault, which took place on June 5, 2004. In that case, Beckett offered to give a second woman a ride to her Linden home before telling her that he had to stop at his mother’s house first, according to Rosenthal.
Instead, Beckett took the woman to an empty home on East Sixth Avenue in Roselle, where he sexually assaulted her. The victim, who was 24 at the time, contacted authorities upon arriving home, and Beckett was arrested again days later.
Photographic evidence of injuries sustained by the first victim and DNA evidence collected in connection with the second sexual assault were introduced at trial, which featured testimony from both victims. The case against Beckett was about to go to trial in October 2007 before issues of mental competency delayed court proceedings until 2013.
“I’m glad that, at long last, these two victims have been able to get justice,” Rosenthal said.
Beckett will face a maximum of 20 years in state prison, with 85 percent of the term to be served before the possibility of parole, when he is sentenced later this year.
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