Elizabeth man sentenced to 16 years for sexual assaults

An Elizabeth man has been sentenced to 16 years in state prison for sexually assaulting two female acquaintances six months apart in 2004, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

State Superior Court Judge Stuart Peim sentenced 34-year-old Clarence Beckett to consecutive eight-year terms, with at least 85 percent of each to be served before the possibility of parole.

The date was January 18, 2004 when Beckett sexually assaulted his first victim, an Irvington resident who was 26 at the time, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Rosenthal, who prosecuted the case. The incident took place at Beckett’s Division Street apartment, after which the victim immediately called police, Rosenthal said.

Beckett was free on bail at the time of the second sexual assault, which took place on June 5, 2004. In that case, Beckett offered to give a different woman a ride to her Linden home before telling her that he had to stop at his mother’s house first, according to Rosenthal.

Instead, Beckett took the woman to an empty home on East Sixth Avenue in Roselle, where he sexually assaulted her. The victim, who was 24 at the time, contacted authorities upon arriving home, and Beckett was arrested again days later.

The case against Beckett was about to go to trial in October 2007 before issues of mental competency delayed court proceedings until last year. A Union County jury deliberated for more than two full days following a three-week trial last October before finding Beckett guilty of two charges of second-degree sexual assault and two charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact.