SOUTHINGTON - A local man who assaulted an elderly woman over the winter could be looking at a year in prison or no jail time at all.
Stephen Cieszynski, 50, took a plea bargain Thursday in Bristol Superior Court. He pleaded guilty under the Alford doctrine to one count of third-degree assault.
The plain assault charge was pursued in lieu of a similar charge that included an enhanced penalty because the victim was an elderly person. An Alford plea means Cieszynski disputes some of the allegations but believes there’s a chance he could be convicted at trial.
The deal the 50-year-old accepted will allow him to stay out of jail if he’s compliant with mental health treatment and medication management, court officials said. He has been receiving treatment through Wheeler Clinic.
However, if Cieszynski is not successful in treatment, he would be exposed to up to a year in prison. His attorney, prosecutors said, could not argue for a sentence lesser than nine months if he’s unsuccessful.
According to prosecutors, police went to a Southington home on Feb. 4 to investigate the claim that Cieszynski had threatened to kill an elderly woman who resides with him. Upon investigation, officers found that the woman had bruising to her face and head. She told police Cieszynski had pushed her, and that she had fallen down, according to prosecutors.
Court officials on Thursday said the victim does not want to see Cieszynski go to jail. He is free from custody and is expected to report back to court twice for updates on how his treatment goes. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 9.
Cieszynski was also arrested in 2015 after barricading himself inside an Atwater Street home, causing a major police response, including the area SWAT team. He was also arrested in 2016 and charged with assaulting an 83-year-old woman, causing a head injury.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.