Stocker’s grandmother pleads guilty to obstruction

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Lise Soucy appears to change her plea to guilty of obstruction of justice. Photos by Shawn Cunningham unless otherwise noted

The grandmother of a Chester man who stands accused of sexual assault, kidnapping and other offenses plead guilty on Wednesday to obstruction of justice by arranging contact with one of the victims to convince her to drop the charges. Obstruction of justice is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

At her Aug. 13 arraignment, Lise Soucy had plead not guilty to obstruction of justice, but appearing with her lawyer Joshua Stern on Oct. 2, she admitted discussing the criminal case against Ryan Stocker with him and to asking Justin Diak to contact a victim known by the initials AS.

Assistant State’s Attorney Ward Goodenough told the court today that Diak was paid by Soucy to talk with AS about dropping the charges. Goodenough added that Diak then gave the text of his Snapchat conversation with AS to Soucy, who gave it to Stocker’s attorney, Melvin Fink. Fink, Goodenough said, used it against AS at a deposition.

However, there was a bump in today’s proceedings when the judge asked Soucy if the state’s version of the events was true.

“Yes and no your honor,” said Soucy. “I never paid him.”

Defense attorney Joshua Stern, standing, confers with State’s Attorney Ward Goodenough after Soucy said that she did not pay someone to contact a victim.

With this, the attorneys huddled for a few moments and Goodenough said the state would accept that Soucy induced Diak to contact AS as sufficient, and the hearing continued.

Stern told the court that Soucy, 66, has no criminal record but made a serious mistake, that she now knows it and will never do it again. “This crime does not define her,” said Stern.

Judge Elizabeth Mann asked Soucy if she had anything to say. In tears, Soucy replied, “I love my grandson.”

“There are limits to what you can do to help your grandson,” said Mann. “We have to draw lines.”

According to the terms of a plea agreement, Soucy was given a one-year deferred sentence subject to conditions of probation. Mann told her that if she successfully completed the year, the file would be closed and she could move forward without a record.

In October of 2018, Diak and Joshua Woods were charged with obstruction, but charges were dropped and they have cooperated with authorities.

Stocker faces a total of three felony counts of sexual assault, two felony counts of kidnapping, one felony count each of attempted aggravated sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child and obstructing justice. Stocker has also been charged with misdemeanor counts of furnishing alcohol to a minor and violation of conditions of release.

Ryan Stocker appearing for his arraignment on an obstruction of justice charge in October 2018. Photo by Eric Francis

Judge Timothy B. Tomasi released Stocker on a $100,000 bond. His conditions of release include a 24-hour curfew except for work with this father.

Stocker is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 4 for a hearing on a state motion to admit evidence that the accusations against him are not simply of similar character, but of a “common scheme.” That would allow prosecutors  to introduce evidence from one case in several trials. Failing that, the motion asks the court to merge three of the trials into one.

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  1. Ed Williams says:

    …and these sorts of crimes will continue to occur, often unreported, as we see that in Vermont consequences are slim to none.