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Ex-Veterans officer pleads guilty to kidnap, rape, and murder plot

A former police chief at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bedford pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal conspiracy charges for his role in two separate plots to kidnap, rape, and murder women and children, authorities said.

Richard Meltz, 65, who has listed addresses in Nashua, N.H. and New Jersey, entered his plea in federal court in Manhattan and faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing on May 22, said US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.

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“Richard Meltz, a former law enforcement officer, now stands convicted of serious federal crimes for his involvement in two sadistic kidnapping, rape, and murder conspiracies,” Bharara said in a statement. “Prosecuting and bringing to justice perpetrators of such depraved and violent crimes is at the core of this office’s mission.”

According to prosecutors, the conspiracies spanned the spring of 2011 to April 2013. Bharara’s office said that Meltz was the police chief at the Bedford VA at the time, but his exact dates of service could not be determined late Thursday night.

Meltz’s lawyer, Peter Brill, said in an e-mail that his client has “taken responsibility for his limited role in the conspiracy he was charged with along with two other individuals.”

“He hopes that he will be remembered for all the good work he has done in his life, and not this sad episode, as well as to return to his wife and family in the not-too-distant future,” Brill wrote.

In the first plot, Meltz and two other men, Robert Christopher Asch and Michael Van Hise, exchanged e-mails and instant message chats discussing the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Van Hise’s wife and stepdaughter, as well as his sister-in-law and her children, according to court records and the statement.

The trio abandoned the plan after the arrest of Gilberto Valle, a former New York City police officer who wanted to practice cannibalism on his kidnap victims, according to prosecutors.

In the second plot, Meltz and Asch began preparing with an undercover FBI agent to kidnap another FBI agent, who was also working undercover, Bharara’s office said. Asch allegedly bought a Taser at a Pennsylvania gun show for the planned kidnapping at Meltz’s direction, prosecutors said.

Asch, 61, of New York, and Van Hise, a New Jersey man in his early 20s, have pleaded not guilty to related charges and are scheduled to stand trial early this year, prosecutors said.

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.
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