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Lawsuit in Laughton Daycare Case Claims Child Was Victim of Sex Abuse

A New Hampshire family said in a new lawsuit their daughter is one of the victims in the child sex abuse image case brought against former Democratic state Rep. Stacie Laughton and Laughton’s girlfriend, Lindsay Groves.

Both Laughton, 39, and Groves, 38, are currently held without bail on child sex abuse image charges out of state and federal courts. Groves used her position at Creative Minds daycare in Tyngsborough, Mass., to take explicit nude photos of children and text them to Laughton, according to court records.

The family also suspects their daughter was sexually abused by Groves, according to the lawsuit.

Filed in Middlesex Superior Court in Massachusetts, the lawsuit claims the New Hampshire child was the subject of sexually explicit photos Groves took while she was enrolled at Creative Minds. 

Creative Minds is owned by Maura Sheehy Costello and Erica Jussaume of Massachusetts, with daycare center branches in Dracut and Tyngsborough. Neither could be reached for comment.

According to the suit, Sheehy Costello and Jussaume allowed Groves access to the children at the daycare despite the fact that Groves was repeatedly reported for inappropriate behavior. The family is suing the business owned by Sheehy Costello and Jussaume for negligence in hiring Groves and keeping her employed despite the red flags.

“As a result of the Defendant’s neglect, the Plaintiffs have reason to believe that their daughter may have been sexually exploited by Lindsay Groves while the minor was under the care of Creative Minds,” the lawsuit states.

The family is being kept anonymous in the legal filings, with the father and mother referred to as John and Jane Doe, and the child referred to as Jane Doe. They are represented by Lowell attorney Roger Peace. Peace did not respond to a request for comment.

This is the second lawsuit brought against Creative Minds since Groves and Laughton were arrested in June.

A Massachusetts mother filed a lawsuit against Creative Minds last month alleging her young son was sexually molested by Groves at the Tyngsborough center. That lawsuit also alleges Sheehy Costello and Jussaume were told about Groves inappropriately touching children in 2018 and told she was taking explicit photos in 2022, and yet she remained on the job.

According to court records in the criminal case, Groves and Laughton exchanged approximately 10,000 text messages over the past 18 months, including numerous explicit photos of the children Groves was caring for at the facility. During one text message conversation, the pair discussed raping children, and Laughton appeared to admit having raped a child in the past.

“LAUGHTON: I was asking because I know we’ve had some back-and-forth, and I know we initially said we do nothing with kids ever again, and you said you were afraid that if we had kids if they would go back and tell the parents the same with the kids you work with.”

In the same exchange, Laughton and Groves discussed the possibility of raping children at Creative Minds.

“GROVES: I want to do it with the kids at work 

GROVES: than you can put your **** inside them

GROVES: I wasn’t being serious about the kids running back and telling their parents 

GROVES: Plus, I want to do it with kids who use to come here cause they can enjoy it 

LAUGHTON: Well, I know but you were afraid that the kids at work might tell their parents and we said we would do it if we knew we were not gonna get caught and I was just wondering like like basically you have no problem with that…”

Laughton became New Hampshire’s first transgender elected official in 2012 but is now more famous for a career of criminal exploits. Laughton, a Democratic state representative, was forced to resign shortly after the 2012 election when it was learned the erstwhile lawmaker was still on probation for a felony theft conviction. Laughton has also been charged with stalking and making bomb threats.

Laughton was reelected to a Nashua House seat in 2020 and, after winning reelection again in 2022, spent weeks in jail after being charged with stalking and harassing Groves, according to court records.

Though Laughton and Groves remain at Valley Street Jail in Manchester pending trial, Groves was recently deemed safe for release by a federal judge. The Boston Office of the United States Attorney is appealing that decision. Groves is staying locked up until the appeal is heard.

NHDem Laughton’s Child Porn Co-Defendant Ordered Released by Judge

The Hudson woman who allegedly supplied former Democratic State Rep. Stacie Laughton with child sex abuse images is set to be freed from jail.

A federal judge ruled Lindsay Groves, 38, can remain out of jail pending her trial on charges of sexual exploitation of children, aiding and abetting, and distribution of child pornography so long as she meets certain conditions.

Laughton, 39, faces identical federal and state charges of distributing child sex abuse images. Laughton, who identifies as transgendered, is being held without bail in the male population at Valley Street Jail in Manchester.

A federal judge ruled last week that Groves can be released safely, meaning she would not be a danger to the community so long as she lives with her parents, has no contact with children, and does not use an iPhone or other internet-connected devices.

“Critically, however, the court finds that conditions of release can be fashioned to address this risk and reasonably assure the safety of the community,” the ruling states.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston will appeal this order. Groves will remain locked up until another judge hears the appeal and rules on the potential release. Groves is also being held at the Valley Street Jail with the female population.

Investigators said Groves used her job at Creative Minds Daycare in Tyngsborough, Mass., to access young children for the graphic photos she shared with Laughton. Court records released in the case include a text conversation with a seeming admission from Laughton that the pair had raped children in the past and planned to do it again.

Groves and Laughton were arrested last month in the child sex abuse image case, a culmination of their twisted relationship. In recent years, the pair have been involved in multiple court cases and no contact orders. One case last year landed Laughton in jail for stalking Groves right after Laughton had won re-election to the legislature. According to the court records in the stalking case, Laughton was publicly calling Groves a pedophile and using social media to amplify that accusation.

As Laughton was receiving the child sex abuse photos from Groves, the disgraced lawmaker was engaging in sexually explicit text conversations with Groves about having sex with children, according to court records. Laughton started showing other people the photos being sent by Groves last month, and texting the photos to those people, according to the complaint filed in federal court. The people who got the photos were disturbed by the images and reported the matter to the police, according to the complaint.

Laughton became New Hampshire’s first elected transgender state representative in 2012 and was praised by New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley as part of the “backbone of the Granite State.”

Trans Former NHDem Rep Busted for Child Porn

Last June, New Hampshire Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley gave a shoutout to state Rep. Stacie-Marie Laughton as one of the “LGBTQIA+ Democrats who are the backbone of the Granite State.”

Today, former Rep. Laughton is under arrest on charges of trafficking child sex abuse images taken by a former lover at a Massachusetts daycare.

When Buckley gave his endorsement last year, Laughton had already been in and out of jail on multiple charges, including credit card fraud and calling in a false bomb threat. But the shocking new charges — Laughton’s partner allegedly took photos of young children at Creative Minds daycare in Tyngsboro — are more serious than the crime of stalking for which Laughton was most recently jailed.

Lindsay Groves, 38, of Hudson, N.H., allegedly used her position at the daycare to take explicit photos of children, sending them to Laughton, who in turn distributed those images to others, according to court documents.

The arrest warrant affidavits in both their cases were still under seal Friday afternoon in the Hillsborough Superior Court—South in Nashua, but the available records show a link between the two cases.

“Groves allegedly used natural bathroom breaks for the children (routine diaper/pull-up changes before ‘naptime’) to take multiple photos of the prepubescent children in a private bathroom and then sent the photos to the individual via text message,” federal prosecutors wrote in a statement on Groves’ arrest.

That same day, Laughton was arrested in Nashua after police were tipped off about the Democrat’s alleged distribution of child sex abuse images. The court descriptions of the child sex abuse images that Groves took with her cell phone, and the images that Laughton distributed to others, are identical.

Laughton, New Hampshire’s first transgender elected official, spent weeks in jail last year after being charged with stalking and harassing Grove, according to court records. 

Laughton and Groves have a disturbing relationship, and Laughton reportedly harassed Groves and her family off and on for years. When Laughton was arrested last year for harassing Groves, the state representative was accused of using a radio show and social media accounts to stalk Groves and repeatedly called 911 to report Groves was suicidal, according to court records. At one point during the campaign of harassment, Laughton used the word “wife” to describe Groves.

A strange twist in the harassment case alleged Laughton repeatedly tried to get Groves fired from her job at Creative Minds and spread rumors on social media and on the radio that Groves is a pedophile, according to court records.

Laughton’s criminal history is extensive, including being convicted in 2008 for credit card fraud for stealing from a person in Laconia and charged in 2015 for calling in a bomb threat at the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center hospital in Nashua. Those charges were later dropped as Laughton claimed to be suffering from a mental health crisis at the time.

Laughton first became a state representative from the Democratic stronghold of Nashua in 2012 but was forced to resign soon after when the 2008 credit card fraud arrest became public. Despite pressure from the Democratic Party, Laughton tried to run to fill the vacancy created by the Democrat’s own resignation. But that bid was cut short when it was deemed Laughton was legally ineligible for office since the candidate was still technically serving a suspended sentence for the felony credit card fraud case.

Laughton ran for the seat again in 2020 without any public pushback from the New Hampshire Democratic Party. But re-election in 2022 turned problematic when the stalking arrest left Laughton behind bars on Organization Day, unable to cast a vote for the Democratic Caucus. At that point, Buckley and other Democrats called for Laughton to resign. 

Laughton left the House and entered a plea agreement on the stalking charges. Asked by NHJournal if this was the end of politics for the Nashua Democrat, Laughton said another run for office after completing court-ordered therapy is possible.

Planned Parenthood Plays ‘Pride’ Game for LGBT Cash, Critics Say

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is getting into the Pride business, using June’s celebration of the LGBTQ+ community to drum up donations for gender-affirming care. But some question if it is just a grab for cash.

The region’s largest abortion provider sent a Pride month press release touting its “Gender-Affirming Care Fund,” claiming it is one of the first Planned Parenthood affiliates to start a fund for trans medical care.

“Planned Parenthood believes everyone deserves high quality, compassionate health care — no matter your gender identity or sexual orientation. We are proud to offer a safe space to all of our patients,” said Nicole Clegg, acting CEO for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE). “As we celebrate Pride month, we also celebrate the LGBTQ+ communities we serve. We are stronger together, and the Gender-Affirming Care Fund is a critical way to support our mission of delivering reproductive health care to all of our patients in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.”

Click on the link included in the statement, and a donations page for PPNNE pops up.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Gender Affirming Care fund is legally categorized as a 502 (c) 3, and the money cannot be used for advocacy by the organization. The organization does raise money for its seperate 501 (c) 4 to fund advocacy efforts.

Sara Persechino, communications director for PPNNE, said 6 percent of the 36,288 patients who went to one of the 15 Planned Parenthood clinics in Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont in 2022 were primarily there seeking gender-affirming care.

NHJournal repeatedly asked PPNNE for their definition of the phrase “gender-affirming care,” a concept that is currently being hotly debated in the medical community.

“PPNNE’s specially-trained clinicians are available to provide gender-affirming care services, including safe, effective Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy (GAHT), at all 15 of our health centers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont,” Persechino said. “PPNNE offers a full spectrum of inclusive sexual and reproductive health care services to people of all genders and identities.

“Services include gender-affirming hormone therapy, PrEP and PEP, STI testing and treatment, birth control, well-person check-ups, and more.”

At the national level, Planned Parenthood boasts on its website, “If you are eligible, Planned Parenthood staff may be able to start hormone therapy as early as the first visit.”

Kristen Day, executive director for the national Democrats for Life organization, raised doubt about Planned Parenthood’s intentions. Planned Parenthood could simply be using the LGBTQ+ community to raise money, much like it did with women worried about breast cancer, she suggested.

“Planned Parenthood has a history of exploiting vulnerable populations to raise funds, most notably fundraising for mammograms when it was clear they did not perform them,” Day said. “So it is disappointing, yet unsurprising, that they would use the compassion that people feel for the LGBTQ+ community to increase funding that will ultimately be used to advance their extreme abortion agenda. Honesty is not their strong suit.”

Planned Parenthood, which generates more than $1 billion in revenue nationally, has repeatedly claimed it provides critical cancer screenings like mammograms at its clinics. The claim has been just as repeatedly debunked. Planned Parenthood does not actually offer mammograms, but critics argue it uses the claim to pressure politicians into providing tax dollars and to raise money in private donations.

Planned Parenthood’s business model is providing abortion services, and that is where the organization derives at least one-third of its clinic revenue. According to the pro-life Lozier Institute, Planned Parenthood performed nearly 375,000 abortions in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, according to the most recent annual report.

While Planned Parenthood claimed it also offers adoption referrals, the numbers showed that more than 97 percent of all pregnant women who go to a Planned Parenthood clinic receive an abortion. That works out to 208 abortions for each adoption referral.

Finn Sicaria, a transgendered person who advocates for the LGBTQ+ community, said there is a need among that community for access to “gender-affirming care,” and Planned Parenthood fills gaps in medical care for transgendered people.

“New Hampshire sucks for trans folks getting access to care,” Sicaria said. “Insurance companies are notorious for considering basic medical needs anything but when it comes to transitioning. Planned Parenthood is flat out the reason several of my friends and loved ones have actual doctors giving them HRT rather than sketchy internet websites.”

Hormone therapy is a key medical treatment for transgendered people, Sicaria said. Getting that treatment wrong, like when transgenders try to DIY their transitions by buying hormones and drugs online, can lead to lasting physical problems.

“Trans folks that get access to transitional care have a wildly improved outcome and quality of life,” Sicaria claimed. “Hormones affect every piece of your existence – muscle development, fat displacement, all of that is secondary to the mental effects of not being force-fed steroids if they aren’t appropriate or, in other cases, a lack of testosterone not matching what the brain is expecting or would most productively use,” Sicaria said.

“In a free society, you’d be able to get easy tests to see where your hormones were and easy access to adjust them as you wanted. But some people really want to control how others exist and what forms of existence are acceptable.”

However, the science of using puberty blockers and other hormone therapies is in dispute, with European medical systems drastically restricting their use as more data are available.

Kimberly Morin, a conservative activist, sees Planned Parenthood’s gender-affirming care as another piece of evidence the organization simply does not care about women.

“Planned Parenthood claims to be an organization that supports women and girls. Throughout their history, the exact opposite has been true, and they further cement their anti-women and girl mantra by pushing to enable the erasure of women and girls through their trans push,” Morin said. “Next, they’ll be telling society that men can get pregnant and provide abortions for them. 

“It’s time Granite State women and girls realize that Planned Parenthood cares nothing about them and only seeks to harm them, as they have continually and consistently done for decades.”


Craig Administration OKs Tax Dollars for Drag Show at Manchester West High

Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig’s administration is paying for a drag show at West High School, and using taxpayer dollars to do it. Specifically, federal tax dollars designated for COVID relief.

The city is spending $4,000 for the high school’s June 2 Pride Event, taken from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. That includes $500 to pay drag performers to appear at the public school.

The funding was approved through the city’s Community Event and Activation Grant, or CEAG, program, according to documents obtained by NHJournal.

Craig, a Democrat who is mounting a run for governor, did not respond to a request for comments about drag shows at a city high school or the use of COVID relief funds to pay for them.

But at least one Republican raised eyebrows.

“Is this really the best use of taxpayer funds?” asked New Hampshire Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut.

Edelblut, a Republican, is considered a likely gubernatorial contender if Gov. Chris Sununu does not seek a fifth term. 

Edelblut’s office stressed the Department of Education has nothing to do with the funding or approval process for the Manchester West Pride Event and drag show. According to documents reviewed by NHJournal, school administrators went to the City of Manchester’s CEAG with an application earlier this year.

“We are looking to get equipment that is sustainable and durable for many more Pride celebrations and activities at West to come,” Manchester West art teacher Richella Simard wrote in the grant application.

Manchester School District Superintendent Jennifer Gillis stood by the taxpayer-funded drag show in a statement, but she noted student attendance is optional.

“As a district, we support and care for all of our students as they learn and grow … Events such as this are consistent with the goals of our community-developed strategic plan, and in line with district policies,” Gillis said.“As with other years, this is an after-school, extra-curricular, opt-in event.”

Gillis made sure to acknowledge the city is paying for the drag performance, and not the school district,

“In prior years, it’s been well-attended, including students, families and members of the West Side community. This year, the group organizing the event applied for and received a Community Event and Activation Grant from American Rescue Plan Act funds through the city of Manchester. Although this is a school event, the district and partner organizations are working to help support the school as needed.”

Simard’s list of Pride equipment on her grant application includes a photo booth and film, a PA system, tables and chafing dishes, as well as an additional $500 for unspecified “Pride decorations and swag.”

The items do not appear to qualify for ARPA funding under federal guidelines.

Manchester’s own CEAG web page lists the approved uses for the money; “With guidance from the Department of the Treasury Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Final Rule, this program calls to action community-based projects that address public health, public safety, the economic recovery of impacted sectors, educational disparities, and more.”

Manchester School Board Member Jim O’Connell said the city is responsible for vetting the applications under the CEAG program, not the School Board.

“It’s the city’s deal. We didn’t measure it or look at the qualifications for it,” O’Connell told NHJournal.

The city pushed the grant application to the School Board, which then approved the spending this month. O’Connell said any amount more than $5,000 requires board approval, but in cases of grants or gifts, that approval is considered pro forma. The board simply allows the school to use the grant that had already been vetted and approved by another agency, he said.

Manchester West has been hosting Pride events at the school since 2018, though two were held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

O’Connell said he supports the drag show performance at the public school.

“I don’t have any problem with a youth pride event for our LGBTQ students and others,” O’Connell said.

At least one Manchester West parent does have a problem and wrote to public officials, including Gov. Chris Sununu and Edelblut, expressing concerns. The parent, whose name is redacted, said the Manchester schools have more pressing issues, such as providing a quality education to struggling students.

“Rather than focusing on essential aspects such as graduation rates, reading scores, and effectively tackling issues like bullying, the district seems to be allocating resources and attention toward irrelevant events like drag shows. This misplaced emphasis is a clear indication that the district is failing in its fundamental duties towards our students,” the parent wrote. “Taxpayer dollars should not be sponsoring drag shows.”

The total estimated cost for the June 2 Pride event is more than $6,000. Of that, $4,000 is coming from the city’s CEAG program, and the rest from unspecified matching funds, according to Simard’s grant application. 

Not surprisingly, Tina Kim Philibotte, chief equity officer for the Manchester School District, said the event is crucial for the lives and well-being of LGBTQ students.

“Events like this Pride celebration continue in West High School’s tradition of honoring youth voices in ways that feel meaningful to them,” said Philibotte in a statement. “Joyful spaces where LGBTQ+ youth feel loved, celebrated, and centered is the work of public education.”

The Manchester Public School District is currently facing a legal challenge to its policy of keeping information about students’ behavior secret from their parents, particularly behavior involving sex and gender. A mother who asked about her child’s actions at school was told she had no right to know and school officials declined to answer her questions. During oral arguments before the New Hampshire Supreme Court, the district’s attorney argued that parents who don’t like the policy can simply pull their children out of school.

“If the parents want to make a different choice, they can homeschool, or they can send their child to a private school; those are options available to them,” said attorney Meghan Glynn.

NH Dems ‘Nuke’ Parents Rights Legislation

Legislation about behavior at school came down to a matter of attendance at the New Hampshire House on Thursday.

The Parents Bill of Rights (SB 272) was “indefinitely postponed” by a vote of 195-190, meaning that the topic is dead under House rules for the rest of the current two-year legislative session.

“They completely nuked the bill,” said Rep. Erica Layon (R-Derry), a parental rights supporter. “It would take a two-thirds majority to bring it back, and that won’t happen.”

Polls show Granite State voters — and parents in particular — support the legislation, which would prevent school employees from keeping information about a student’s on-campus behavior secret from parents who ask about their own children. Because that includes behavior regarding sex and gender, Democrats have attempted to label the bill anti-LGBT, arguing that parents are too dangerous to be allowed to have this information about their children.

A handful of absences among GOP members and near-perfect attendance by Democrats in the closely-divided House left Republicans without a functioning majority. When Republicans began defecting to add amendments to the Senate bill, the battle was lost.

Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R-Auburn) drew equal boos and cheers as he made an angry statement about the vote from the House well.

“For the next two years, parents will have to continue to accept that school is a mysterious and secretive black box where they deposit their children. Who knows what will happen inside that box, and who knows what will come out the other side?” Osborne said. “By indefinitely postponing this bill, parents will have no choice but to avail themselves of the wildly successful Education Freedom Accounts.”

The writing was on the wall early in the day when Rep. Mike Bordes (R-Laconia) gave cover to Republican defectors with an amendment altering the bill so as to remove references to LGBTQ identities and remove the requirement that schools not lie to parents. Several other Democratic-sponsored amendments passed as well, with the net effect of essentially gutting the bill. 

Supporter Rep. Joe Sweeney (R-Salem) tried and failed to have the bill tabled, which would have meant it could be brought back in some form later in the current legislative session.

“We should not be cutting our legs off to continue to have this discussion,” Sweeney said. 

But the die was cast and, with the help of Republican Reps. David Bickford (R-New Durham) and Joseph Guthrie (R-Hampstead), Democrats notched a major win.

House Speaker Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) said the state GOP will continue pushing for parents’ rights.

“I am disheartened House Democrats chose institutions over New Hampshire parents today,” Packard said in a statement. “They chose secrets over parent-involved solutions. They chose to ignore the majority of New Hampshire parents who made it clear they were looking for legislative support to help protect their rights and their children.”

Senate Republicans called on Gov. Chris Sununu to issue an executive order setting to affirm parental rights, saying Democrats have betrayed families.

“The decision by Democrats to block this important bill is a direct assault on parental rights and a clear indication of their misguided priorities. By denying parents the opportunity to exercise their inherent authority, Democrats have undermined the very fabric of our society, where the family unit and parental involvement play an essential role in the upbringing and development of our children,” Senate Republicans said in a statement.

“We urge Gov. Sununu to take a stand for Granite State parents and issue an executive order to affirm the rights they rightly deserve.”

Sununu did not respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Alissandra Rodrigues Murray (D-Manchester) spent time hugging and chatting with 603Equality founder Linds Jakows, who lobbied hard against the legislation. Jakows even offered a plane ticket to fly a vacationing Democrat from Florida so he could vote against the bill.

Asked to comment on the victory, Murray replied, “I don’t talk to New Hampshire Journal.”  

Rep. Gerri Cannon (D-Somersworth), who identifies as a woman, understands parental concerns about kids’ behavior at school. Cannon agreed parents should be able to know what’s in the curriculum and is being taught in classrooms, but added concern for the safety of LGBTQ children is paramount.

“If they don’t have the right to be themselves, it can put them at risk,” Cannon said.

Cannon was echoing the message New Hampshire Democrats have made the center of their opposition to parental rights: Parents are potentially too dangerous to the lives and safety of their own children to be given the same information about their kids that school officials have.

Enough Republicans agreed with Cannon and the rest of the Democrats to kill the bill.

“I think there are some people on the Republican side who support the rights of children just like any person, and there are people who understand there is the potential for harm,” Cannon said.

Even with the bill knocked out for the next two years, the parents’ rights issue isn’t going away. Shannon McGinley, executive director of the pro-family advocacy group Cornerstone Action, said parents let down by their lawmakers need to get active.

“As the House will not act, the next step is to fight this battle on the local level. All we need is for parents to be just as fearlessly, consistently engaged with their local school boards as progressive activists are,” McGinley said. “If you are too afraid of controversy to speak up, then the cultural left will always win by default.

“But if one New Hampshire school board will stand up to the intimidation and cynical legalese of these groups, then other school boards could fall like dominoes.”

Kindergarten Sex Ed Class Up for Review in Hanover

Hanover school board chairman Ben Keeney confirms that his district is using the curriculum that involves teachers encouraging five-year-olds to draw their own naked bodies. But, he assured NHJournal, no parents are complaining.

“I’ve not heard from any parents about the situation directly,” Keeney said.

Care for Kids is taught at the Bernice Ray Elementary School through a partnership with WISE and has been part of Hanover’s curriculum for over a dozen years, Keeney said. Keeney said the goal of the program is to prevent abuse.

“It’s a sexual violence prevention tool,” he said.

WISE, a Lebanon-based non-profit to support victims of domestic and sexual abuse, has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

The Care for Kids program presented as an anti-abuse teaching tool, sparked an uproar when an Upper Valley parent, Chris Rivet, read from the graphic teaching aid during testimony at the State House. Rivet said he and his wife were never told about the content before it was offered. State law dictates parents be given notice before any sex education being offered in schools.

Care for Kids has teachers instruct children to draw themselves naked and encourages teachers to push children who are uncomfortable to draw penises, nipples, and other body parts.

Rivet, a parent and a teacher, said the program is totally inappropriate for the age group. He read from the curriculum on the floor of the New Hampshire House during a hearing on the GOP-backed Parents Bill of Rights.

The bill’s prime sponsor in the Senate, Republican Sharon Carson, said the bill is in response to parents who learned for the first time what their children were being taught in schools while overseeing classwork during the COVID school closures. Those parents were shocked, Carson said.

Another reason for the bill is found in the lawsuit brought by a Manchester mother who was told by school employees they could not tell her the truth about her child’s gender identity.

“Parents shouldn’t have to file lawsuits to find out about their children,” Carson said.

The Care for Kids program, which comes from the organization Prevent Child Abuse VT, is taught throughout Vermont and in some Upper Valley communities in New Hampshire along the Connecticut River under a Healthy Relationships course.

Healthy Relationships is also taught in New Hampshire schools throughout the Monadnock region through the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention in Keene without mention of the kindergarten naked drawing course. Representatives with MCVP Healthy Relationships program were unavailable for comment.

However, Keeney said the program is getting a review from the school board. That review is part of the regular curriculum review the board conducts and is not in response to any complaints.

“The curriculum as a whole is being looked at by the board as an ongoing, constant improvement project,” Keeney said.

Head of Rainbow Reload Finds Security in NH

One of the founders of Rainbow Reload, a New Hampshire-based group of LGBTQ people who teach others how to defend themselves with firearms, scoffs at the idea the organization is dangerous.

“All Rainbow Reload does is train, explain how guns work, and we make sure there is no political activity,” said Finn Sicaria, who uses the pronouns they/their. “We make sure it stays a comfortable space that everyone can access.”

It is part of the national movement “pink pistol” movement that can be traced back to an article at Salon.com by Jonathan Rauch.

Angered by violence against the LGBT community, Rauch wrote, “The gay movement often portrays homosexuals as helpless victims. Here’s an alternative: Arm them… If it became widely known that homosexuals carry guns and know how to use them, not many bullets would need to be fired.”

Sicaria is a pseudonym used while they sort out their gender identity transition. The 33-year-old says they moved to southern New Hampshire several years ago to get away from violence directed at queer people and to get away from local governments that restrict the right to bear arms.

“I’m never leaving,” Sicaria said.

After being a victim of an assault while in college in New Jersey, Sicaria went through the extensive process of getting a license to carry a pistol in that state. Later, Sicaria moved to Boston, hoping to find a home in the city’s gay community. Because of the Bay State’s own restrictive gun laws, Sicaria had to get rid of their guns.

“I had disarmed to move to Massachusetts, thinking I was making myself safer,” Sicaria said.

That was not the case. Sicaria said they were unsafe in Boston. Sicaria was subject to harassment and abuse, like being targeted with milkshakes or being spat on.

“I had this fantasy in my head that the communities could be isolated,” Sicaria said. “I learned to move fast and get out of the way.”

Sicaria soon found themselves again the victim of violence and left the city to stay with friends in New Hampshire to recover. Here in the Granite State, Sicaria was once again able to legally carry a gun.

“New Hampshire allows me to be who I am and to defend myself,” Sicaria said.

In New Hampshire, Sicrari became part of a like-minded community of people who wanted to be able to defend themselves. However, many in the group were unhappy with their options. Too many pro-Second Amendment groups were actively political and leaned too far to the right for Sicaria’s circle.

Rainbow Reload started as a way to teach other LGBTQ people how to use guns safely while steering clear of politics.

“We train queer people; that’s all we do,” Sicaria said.

Many of the people who come to Rainbow Reload meetings and training have themselves been victims of hate-oriented violence, Sicaria said. There is a desire among New Hampshire LGBTQ people to be able to defend themselves and their community, as well as an appreciation for New Hampshire’s respect for personal liberty and gun ownership.

The training usually occurs at a friendly gun range or a site in the woods.

Sicaria is not apolitical. They are trained as an EMT and serves as a  volunteer street medic for protests. Sicaria is also part of a community defense group that provides security at protests. Those actions are separate from Rainbow Reload, Sicaria insisted.

The community defense team typically operates at protests in a way not to be noticed, or in ninja mode, Sicaria said.

“If we did our job right, you have no idea we were there at all,” Sicaria said.

New Hampshire has seen an uptick in hate crimes over the past several years. The white supremacist group NSC-131 has taken root in the Granite State among others known hate groups. Two members of NSC-131 were recently charged with civil violations by New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella. Christopher Hood and Leo Anthony Cullinan were allegedly part of the NSC 131 demonstration on a Route 1 overpass in Portsmouth last July, during which they displayed a sign that read “Keep New England White.”

Sicaria said it is time for LGBTQ people to realize they need to defend themselves against the active hate groups that are operating in New England and beyond.

“There are angry Nazis with plate carriers and AR-15s, the people who hate us, and they have been training for years,” Sicaria said.

Sicaria is concerned about what they see as the rising angry rhetoric directed at queer people, which they fear could lead to violence.

“It’s hard to describe how it felt watching it slowly creep on,” Sicaria said.

Sicaria has no patience for those in the LGBTQ community who engage in violence, like the killer in the recent school shooting in Nashville. In the incident, a transgender person killed three children and three adults. Sicaria is angry with those on the left who argued that the shooter was justified because of anti-transgender rhetoric and violence.

“The shooter is a literal piece of f***ing sh**. A broken monster,” Sicaria said. “We need to eliminate the idea that this is something we can blame on any sort of discrimination. This is somebody who was a monster.”

NH Dem Party Official Smears Gay Republican as Homophobe

The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s top communications person took to Twitter to smear former GOP state Rep. Tim Baxter as an “anti-LGBTQ, Christian nationalist nut job.”

The problem is that Baxter, who gained national attention running a pro-liberty campaign for U.S. Congress last year, is openly gay.

In response to an NHJournal story about Baxter and fellow 2022 congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt working to win leadership positions in the New Hampshire Young Republicans (NHYR), state Democratic Party communications director Colin Booth tweeted, “Just what every young person wants, to be associated with a bunch of anti-LGBTQ, Christian nationalist nut jobs.”

When confronted with the fact that Baxter is gay Booth doubled down, suggesting the Republican is homophobic.

“Remarkably, gay people are just as capable of supporting anti-LGBTQ legislation and policies as straight people,” Booth tweeted.

Openly gay elected officials denounced Booth’s insulting comments targeting Baxter and questioned why his boss, state party chair Ray Buckley — who is also gay — is defending Booth’s behavior.

Getting attacked by the left because of their sexuality is nothing new for gay Republicans said state Sen. Dan Innis (R-Bradford). Innis was recently called a “self-hater” when he came out as a Republican.

“I just don’t understand if you’re gay you’re suddenly supposed to be a Democrat,” he said.

Baxter said Monday that while he makes no secret of his sexuality, he hasn’t made identity part of his political campaigns, choosing instead to run on his ideas. 

“Unlike Colin, I don’t think you’re a bigot if you don’t subscribe to far-left propaganda on LGBT issues,” Baxter said. “It is sad that I don’t see tolerance and respect for people of differing beliefs from Colin, Ray [Buckley], and the entirety of the NHDP. Thankfully, I do see it from the Republican Party, and the vast majority of the American people.”

Republican voters want to hear about a candidate who will solve the problems they face, not about how that candidate identifies, Baxter said.

“I spoke about my voting record in the legislature, my nonprofit work, and my business experience. Occasionally my sexual orientation came up, but most Republican voters didn’t care because they care about ideas, not identity politics,” Baxter said.

Booth did not respond to a request for comment Monday, nor did representatives from alleged gay rights advocacy organizations like GLAAD, or GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. According to Baxter, he has not reached out to apologize for his smear.

Gay Republicans said they aren’t surprised, comparing it to the ongoing race-based attacks from progressives targeting GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as alleged traitors to their race.

Rep. Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown), another openly gay Republican, said he has experienced intolerance from people on the left when they learn he isn’t in lockstep with their politics because of his sexuality. He was stunned by Booth’s attack on Baxter, and by extension, other gay Republicans.

“I’m struggling to understand why Colin believes the NHYRs are ‘anti-LGBTQ nut jobs,” Alexander said. “Until very recently the chairman of the NHYRs was a member of that community.”

Alexander is the former NHYR chair.

Innis said he and other gay Republicans refuse to become political hostages to a party that does not share their most fundamental beliefs. He also notes the previous Democratic president, Barack Obama, opposed gay marriage when he ran for office.

New Hampshire Republicans, on the other hand, are more than welcoming to members of the LGBTQ community, he said.

“We believe in freedom, liberty, and equality. These are the ideals that made America great,” Innis said. “Tim ran that way. I ran that way too. People in my party supported me in my primary two to one.”

Democrats are too focused on identity politics to understand what voters want, Innis said. People want representatives and leaders who do what is right, and not what is politically correct.

“They’re about identity politics, and Republicans aren’t,” Innis said. “Our politics are about what’s right for the people of New Hampshire and the country. And isn’t that what matters?”

Leavitt Calls Out Manchester Schools, Pappas Over Parental Rights

Standing outside the Manchester School District office, GOP congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt called out the city’s schools and her Democratic opponent over the issue of parental rights.

“Far left Democrats, including my opponent (U.S. Rep.) Chris Pappas, do not believe that parents have a fundamental right to know when their child is expressing concerns over their gender status at school,” Leavitt said. She was surrounded by supporters waving “Moms for Karoline” signs.

Leavitt was responding to a recent ruling by Hillsborough Superior Court Judge Amy Messer rejecting a Manchester mother’s demand she be told about her child’s behavior at school regarding gender identity. District policy forbids teachers and employees from informing parents if children adopt a different gender or engage in related behavior while at school.

Messer ruled that parents ultimately do not have the right to direct how their children are educated in public schools.

Leavitt said if elected she would push for a federal parents’ bill of rights.

“Parents have an inalienable right to know what’s going on in their child’s classroom, and in Congress, I will proudly support legislation to enact a federal parental bill of rights,” Leavitt said. “I will always ensure that Granite State moms and dads feel heard at the highest level of our government. That is why I am here today, and I will always put parents over politicians.”

Manchester School District spokesman Andrew Toland declined to comment on Leavitt’s remarks, saying the lawsuit is still potentially pending. After Messer dismissed the lawsuit, the mother’s attorney Richard Lehmann told NHJournal he plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Leavitt said the district’s policy is based on the false assumption that parents will automatically harm their LGBTQ+ identifying children and will not seek to do what is in the true best interest of their child.

“I spoke directly and personally with the mother who filed this lawsuit,” Leavitt said. “You know what she told me? She told me, ‘I may have lost my daughter. My daughter may have taken her own life if I was not accidentally informed that she was expressing concerns over her gender at school.’ She said, ‘Who would’ve been responsible then if my sweet innocent child lost and took her own life? She was expressing concerns over her emotional and mental health crying out for help to these teachers,’” Leavitt said.

Activists with the liberal organization Granite State Progress told NH Journal Leavitt is wrong to champion parents’ rights over the school’s policy to keep gender identity secrets. Children who identify as transgender or some other variation of LGBTQ+ run the risk of parental violence when they come out, said Sarah Robinson with the organization.

“We believe that students deserve to go to school to learn in a place of belonging. And as a mom myself, I believe that my children deserve to be valued in whatever space they step into. And we know that coming out to parents is a big decision for students and teachers and educators and staff of schools. Interrupting the parent-child relationship is not the way this conversation needs to go,” Robinson said.

Asked what other information teachers should keep secret from parents about their children’s behavior, Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, deflected the question. Instead, she claimed most parents in New Hampshire support Manchester’s policy of secrecy, based on the most recent school board election results.

“Here’s the deal: We had school board races up and down New Hampshire in the spring, and the candidates who came out on top were those who supported all kids in the classroom. And parents who are involved in their children’s lives and create supportive, loving environments at home. Their kids come to them and talk to them. And kids who do not have that at home need to be safe and supported and firmed in the other spaces they are in,” Rice Hawkins said.

Pappas declined to respond to requests for comment. However, just hours after Leavitt’s press conference he joined his fellow House Democrats in a vote to kill an amendment to protect parents’ right to know.

“Every House Democrat just voted against requiring parental notice and consent before a school provides services related to sexual orientation or gender identity,” tweeted House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) “Outrageous. Parents have a right to know what schools are doing with their kids.”