A day after pleading guilty to multiple counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault on a teenager, a Dover man sentenced to 20 to 60 years in New Hampshire State Prison committed suicide last week.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, the death of Lawrence Pilla, 61, on November 9, 2021 was deemed a suicide. Court spokeswoman Tammy Jackson confirmed the identity of the man, who she said had previously attempted suicide last year after the allegations came to light.

Previously:Dover man charged with repeated sexual assault on teenager

Lawrence Pilla pleaded guilty on November 8 in Strafford County Superior Court.

Last year, Pilla was charged with repeatedly sexually assaulting a teenage girl he had known for three years, according to the Dover Police Department, Foster’s Previously reported. Pilla, who lived on Samuel Hanson Avenue in Dover, faced five charges of sexual assault.

He was sentenced last Monday and sent to state prison immediately after, according to court documents. He pleaded guilty on November 8 in Strafford County Superior Court in Dover and died the next day.

Emily Garod, assistant district attorney for Strafford County, was the lead prosecutor in the case.

“My heart breaks for the victim and for the family (de Pilla), who are innocent in all of this,” Garod said Monday. “This (the crime) was a really blatant thing that he did, but he took responsibility for it and pleaded guilty before his death.”

Pilla was represented by Manchester lawyer Olivier Sakellarios, who could not be immediately reached on Monday evening.

Pilla worked for the Child Protection Education Program at Granite State College.

Garod argued at a bail hearing last year that Pilla would endanger the victim “physically and psychologically if released.” Garod said the victim believed Pilla was her “boyfriend”.

“He took advantage of her situation and then prepared her for sex,” Garod said last year.

Dover Police said last year that Pilla’s arrest on October 29, 2020 was the result of an investigation that began in early October.

Police alleged that the sexual abuse started when Pilla had the child touched the child when she was 12 years old. The abuse reportedly escalated, continuing for more than two months but less than five years.

If you need help

Seacoast Media Group provides the following information as a public service:

If you need support, Haven has trained confidential advocates available to help those affected by domestic and sexual violence. The 24-hour hotline is (603) 994-SAFE (7233). You can also connect to Haven’s confidential online chat service Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by clicking the Chat Now button at havennh.org.

Karen Dandurant’s report is included in this report.


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