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Press Release

Thompson Man Charged with Kidnapping and Sexually Assaulting Massachusetts Girl

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

U.S. Attorney John H. Durham, Chief Michael Shaw of the Webster (Mass.) Police Department, Colonel Stavros Mellekas of the Connecticut State Police, FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian C. Turner of the New Haven Division and FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the Boston Division announced that JOSHUA BESAW, 35, of Thompson, Connecticut, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with offenses related to the kidnapping and sexual assault of 12-year-old girl.

Besaw appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna F. Martinez in Hartford and was ordered detained.

As alleged in the complaint, on May 31, 2019, Besaw encountered a 12-year-old girl (“minor victim”) at a park in Webster, Massachusetts, and enticed the minor victim to enter his vehicle.  Besaw, who identified himself as “Chuck,” then drove the minor victim to a wooded area in Thompson, Connecticut, where he sexually assaulted her.  After the assault, Besaw drove the minor victim to Dudley, Massachusetts, where he released the minor victim in a neighborhood that was unfamiliar to her.  The minor victim then borrowed a phone from a stranger to contact her parents who picked her up and brought her to the police station to report the incident.  Later that day, a sexual assault examination of the victim was conducted at a medical facility.

It is alleged that Besaw was identified as a suspect after an extensive investigation led by Webster Police with support from the Connecticut State Police, which included analysis of surveillance video collected from numerous residences and businesses in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

On July 10, 2019, investigators conducting surveillance of Besaw collected cigarette butts that Besaw had discarded.  It is alleged that DNA evidence collected from the discarded cigarette butts matched DNA evidence collected from the minor victim on May 31, 2019.

The complaint charges Besaw with kidnapping, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life, and with transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, an offense that carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of life.

U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a criminal complaint is not evidence of guilt.  Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the Webster Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy V. Gifford.

This prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which is aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

To report cases of child exploitation, please visit

Updated July 17, 2019

Project Safe Childhood
Violent Crime