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Monson woman gets 8 to 8½ years in connection with child rape 

  • Claire Poole appears Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court. ​​​​STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Claire Poole during her change of plea hearing in Hampshire Superior Court Wednesday, October 2, 2019. ​​​STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 10/3/2019 12:01:47 AM

NORTHAMPTON — A Monson woman pleaded guilty Wednesday in Hampshire Superior Court to charges in connection with the rape of a child in Ware in 2017.

Claire Poole, 41, pleaded guilty to two separate counts of accessory before the fact of rape and abuse of a child under the age of 16.

Poole was sentenced to 8 to 8½ years in state prison for each count to be served concurrently. The sentence is to also be served concurrently along with a 10½-year federal sentence on charges of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking.

Poole told the victim, a female child known to her, about meeting with Walter Brown, 74, of Ware, for sex and money — driving her to and from Brown’s home twice. Poole also gave the victim items from Brown that were used during sexual videos depicting the victim that appeared to be sent to Brown from Poole’s cell phone, according to prosecutors. Brown is expected to go to trial in the case in U.S. District Court at a later time and faces several charges, including statutory rape.

After Assistant District Attorney Linda Pisano read facts of the case in court, Poole’s defense attorney, David Hoose, said his client did not agree with some of the statements made to authorities by a witness — adding that Poole did not deny relaying messages and driving the victim to Brown’s house.

When asked by Judge John Agostini about what exactly she disagreed with, Poole said she had never sent or seen any of the videos made by the victim. Agostini said the “substance of the charges” were that she assisted the victim in engaging with Brown in sexual acts for money that she shared with the victim.

“I never encouraged her to do anything at all,” Poole said. “Yes I drove her over there, and yes I knew why I was driving her over there.”

Earlier in the proceeding, Poole said she was in the U.S. Navy and working on the USS Cole in 2000 when two suicide bombers killed 15 sailors. Though she was not injured, Poole said she now suffers from post-traumatic stress.

In closing statements, Pisano said the victim wanted “no part” of the proceeding, adding that she believed the state could have proved Poole guilty without testimony from the victim. However, she said it would “make for a very troubling case.”

“There really is no sentence that would compensate for probably the most heinous of crimes,” Pisano said before asking Agostini to accept Poole’s plea deal.

Michael Connors can be reached at

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