Former CT theater director arrested for third time on sexual assault accusations

A former theater director at the Thomaston Opera House has been arrested for the third time since June on allegations he sexually assaulted a teen who was involved in theater programs he oversaw.

Daniel Checovetes, 45, of Southington turned himself in last Saturday on one count of first-degree sexual assault, the Thomaston Police Department said Thursday. He posted a $650,000 bond and was released with an order not to contact the victim, police said.

Checovetes, who had previously been arrested by both Thomaston and Southington police on sexual assault charges, is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charge on Tuesday in the Litchfield Judicial District Courthouse in Torrington.

Thomaston police said the victim in the most recent arrest worked as a volunteer under Checovetes at the Thomaston Opera House. They began investigating him in June in connection with a complaint that he sexually assaulted multiple minors dating back to 2009, police said.

“Mr. Checovetes is presumed innocent under the United States Constitution,” Hartford-based attorney Patrick Tomasiewicz, who is representing Checovetes, told The Courant Friday. “We will provide him the most vigorous defense possible.”

Checovetes — who was formerly involved in show productions at multiple theater companies — was investigated by the Southington Police Department in 2017 for sexual assault allegations, though investigators at that time could not establish probable cause for an arrest.

Then in January 2020, three lawsuits were filed by as many victims against Checovetes and multiple theater companies alleging the complainants, who contend they were all minors at the time, were sexually assaulted by Checovetes between 2009 and 2016. During a deposition hearing in one of the lawsuits with Bridgeport-based attorney Jason Tremont, Checovetes admitted to having sex with the teen at the Thomaston Opera House, at his home and “sometimes outside her house,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed in one of the previous arrests. He also admitted during the deposition that he lied to investigators in 2017 before they suspended their investigation due to a lack of probable cause.

Following the revelation, Southington police reopened their investigation which resulted in Checovetes being arrested in June on three counts of second-degree sexual assault under under a provision of the state’s sexual assault statutes that makes it illegal to engage in sexual activity with someone under 18 years old if the defendant is 20 or older and is in a “position of power, authority or supervision” over the victim, the warrant states. He was then arrested by Thomaston police in September and charged under the same provision with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

Those two arrests stem from allegations made by only one of the alleged victims who have filed a lawsuit against Checovetes.

According to the warrants in connection with those arrests, Checovetes was 37 years old when he met the teenage victim through their involvement with the Thomaston Opera House — where had begun as a volunteer in theater productions before working his way up to stage manager and director.

The girl also told police the two began “sexting” one another, which led to the sharing of nude photos, before Checovetes had sex with her numerous times in multiple locations including in the Warner Theater in Torrington, the Thomaston Opera House and in a vehicle outside his home, the affidavit said.

The lawsuits filed against Checovetes and theater companies in Naugatuck, Thomaston and Torrington contend that leadership at the theaters failed to protect the plaintiffs from Checovetes. All three lawsuits are pending in Waterbury Superior Court.