Rape plea would have man serve 34 years

NASHUA – A Greenville man would serve at least 34 years in prison for raping a 4-year-old girl, under the terms of a plea bargain filed last week in Hillsborough County Superior Court.

Dominic Pace, 28, formerly of Greenville and Boscawen, pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to federal child pornography charges, stemming from the video and still images that he made of the same girl, depicting sexual abuse, court records show. Pace has been jailed since his arrest last year.

Pace is scheduled to be sentenced on the pornography charges May 18 in U.S. District Court, and federal prosecutors have said they expect him to get 40 years in a federal penitentiary.

On Feb. 11, Pace and his lawyer, Adam Bernstein of Nashua, filed notice of a plea deal with First Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Roger Chadwick to resolve the rape case in state court. Pace is accused of raping and molesting the girl in both Mason and Greenville on various occasions from 2006 until his arrest in March 2008.

A judge has yet to approve the deal, and no hearing has been scheduled, court records show.

Pace plans to admit to five felony rape charges and a lesser felony sexual assault charge, in exchange for a minimum sentence of 34 years, to be served in federal prison at the same time as his federal sentence.An additional 10- to 20-year sentence would remain suspended for 20 years after Pace is released from prison, while he would remain under supervision by federal and state corrections officers.

He would, of course, be required to register as a sex offender and avoid contact with minors.

New Hampshire and Massachusetts State Police began investigating Pace after the arrest of an Ashland, Mass., man, who was snared in a child pornography investigation by police in St. Lucie, Fla., police said after Pace’s arrest.

That man met Pace in person and traded pornography with him online and led investigators to him, police said. He pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges in Florida and is currently being held while awaiting sentencing, court records show.

Searching Pace’s home last year, investigators found a small, flash drive holding some 700 still and video images, including some in which they could identify the 4-year-old girl who was being sexually assaulted, according to an affidavit filed in federal court by Secret Service special agent Matthew O’Neill.

Investigators were able to trace the photos to Pace’s mother’s Kodak camera using code embedded in the images, O’Neill wrote. Police also were able to identify Pace by the tattoo of an expletive on his right hand, visible in some of the videos, he wrote.