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In Domestic Violence Trial, Dem Woodburn Wants Biting To Count as Self-Defense

According to his attorney, jurors should be ordered to consider biting as self-defense when they deliberate the simple assault and domestic abuse charges against Jeffrey Woodburn.

The disgraced Democratic former state Senate Minority Leader is gearing up for his second trial on allegations he assaulted his former girlfriend on multiple occasions. His arrest six years ago resulted in a trial, conviction, and multiple appeals — not to mention the end of his political career. 

Woodburn continues to fight the charges.

The Coos County Democrat was convicted in 2022, but the state Supreme Court tossed those convictions last year because he was originally barred from making the case he acted in self-defense. That sent the case back to Coos Superior Court for a new trial.

Woodburn’s attorney, Mark Sisti, filed his version of proposed jury instructions ahead of the sequel trial slated to start next week. The jury instructions make it clear Woodburn will try to justify his use of physical violence against his former girlfriend.

“A person has the right to utilize non-deadly force when he can reasonably believe that such force is necessary in order to defend himself. In this case, Jeffrey Woodburn asserts that his act of physical contact, including biting the alleged victim, was necessary as he reasonably believed that the complainant posed an imminent threat of restraining him from exiting the car,” according to the Woodburn defense documents.

According to court records, Woodburn bit the woman during a December 2017 argument as she was driving him back from a party. An intoxicated Woodburn demanded to be let out of the car, and he planned to call a friend for a ride. When the woman reached to take his phone, he allegedly bit her hand, according to the allegations.

While Woodburn was not able to cast blame on the victim at his original trial, the Supreme Court’s ruling means he can now claim the woman’s past aggressiveness when dealing with him, usually when he was intoxicated, to justify his actions. 

According to the proposed jury instructions, Woodburn will argue he was acting out of the “heat of passion” and shouldn’t be judged with hindsight.

“In deciding whether the defendant acted in self-defense, you should consider all of the circumstances surrounding the incident. You should consider how the defendant acted under the circumstances as they were presented to him at the time and not necessarily as they appear upon detached reflection. You should consider whether the defendant’s belief that it was necessary to use non-deadly force was reasonable when he acted in the heat of passion,” the proposed instructions state.

It will ultimately be up to a jury to decide if Woodburn’s self-defense claims are enough to keep him from consequences. His related convictions on charges of criminal mischief were upheld on appeal, but Woodburn has yet to serve any jail time as the 30-day sentences were stayed pending the new trial.

According to court records, Woodburn kicked the door to the woman’s house and she refused to let him inside about a week after the fight in the car. Earlier that year, in August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

Woodburn’s tenacity in fighting the charges is similar to his scramble to stay in politics after his arrest in the summer of 2018. Despite calls from state Democrats to resign, Woodburn ran for reelection and won the primary in September 2018. He went on to lose the general election that November.

Court: Brave Tried To Hide $1.5 Million To Score Free Lawyer

Caught not reporting $1.5 million in revenue, Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is now under court order to pay for his own defense lawyer.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Daniel St. Hilaire canceled Brave’s free public defender Tuesday after prosecutors requested an emergency hearing. According to court records, prosecutors say Brave lied on his financial disclosure forms when he first applied for a public defender, leaving proceeds from the sale of his Dover home off his list of assets.

Brave cried poverty when he was approved for a public defender on Oct. 26, though he had already sold the 17 Schooner Drive home on Sept. 29. Brave did not list revenue from the home sale on his application for a public defender. The home sold for $1.5 million.

Brave was arraigned on charges he stole taxpayer money to support his hook-up lifestyle on Sept. 28. At that hearing, Brave represented himself, saying he could not afford a lawyer. Brave said he planned to hire Shaheen and Gordon to represent him once the house sale went through. 

Brave is facing the possibility of 63 years in prison and blames his current legal predicament on political vendettas and racism. He claimed Strafford County Commissioners George Maglaras, Robert Watson, and Deanna Rollo made up the allegations as part of a political maneuver. Maglaras, Watson, and Rollo are all elected Democrats. Brave’s also accused Maglaras of racism. According to Brave, Maglaras called him a “token.”

County Administrator Ray Bowers went to County Attorney Tom Velardi last spring after finding suspicious purchases Brave made with his county-issued credit card, according to records made public in the investigation. Verladi referred the matter to New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella’s office for investigation.

According to the affidavit written by New Hampshire Attorney General Investigator Allison Vachon, Brave repeatedly used his position and public money to fund his relationships with various paramours. There were plane trips, hotel stays, meals, and even a family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge, though it is not clear if the Great Wolf Lodge weekend was with his family or the family of a woman he was dating. 

County officials had been concerned about Brave’s spending outpacing his budget for months when an audit found Brave had “maxed out” his county credit card. According to Vachon’s affidavit, the audit also turned up suspicious receipts for an August 2022 trip to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

While Brave would give Bowers and, later, investigators multiple rationales for the Florida trip, it turned out to be an excursion with female Strafford County Sheriff employee Freezenia Veras.

Brave had hired a woman, Veras, to a new position he created for her in March 2022. Veras’ title as chief of support services/public information officer didn’t come with a job description, but it did come with a $ 79,000-a-year salary. As a result, Veras was getting more in her paycheck than certified deputies in Strafford County- those qualified to engage in law enforcement. Brave would go on to have Veras sworn in as a special deputy, giving her the power to arrest people.

Veras would eventually tell Vachon she and Brave went to Florida to research her new job with other law enforcement agencies. Veras told investigators Brave claimed the meetings were canceled at the last minute, and she spent her time shopping and hanging out by the hotel pool, the affidavit stated.

Brave allegedly used taxpayer funds for trips with multiple women and then repeatedly lied about it, the affidavit stated. He is charged with eight felonies, including theft, perjury, and falsifying evidence for stealing at least $19,000 from the county.

Brave remains Strafford County Sheriff, at least until the next election. He is currently on paid leave from his job.

Busted for Hooking Up, Sheriff Brave Goes Solo in Arraignment Hearing

Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is charged with crimes related to his hookups with women, allegedly paid for with public money. But on Thursday, Brave was alone, representing himself during his arraignment hearing in a Strafford County courtroom.

Brave, who is accused of stealing taxpayer money to fund his secret love life and then lying about it to a grand jury, still does not have a lawyer. That may not matter much yet, as the hearing in Rockingham Superior Court was more of a formality to get the case started.

The Strafford County Democrat entered pleas of not guilty to the eight felony charges brought against him, and he remains free on bail with the same restrictions imposed when he was arrested last month. Brave, who is on paid leave from his sheriff’s job, is prohibited from contacting numerous Strafford County employees, including several members of the sheriff’s office staff.

The only minor change in his bail was Brave has moved out of his Schooner Drive home in Dover, and he will be allowed to leave the state when he drives his daughter to a private school in Lawrence, Mass.

“I’m a single dad,” Brave said in court.

Selling the Schooner Drive home is key to Brave’s legal defense. He said this week he plans to use the sale proceeds to hire an attorney. The home was listed on real estate websites for $1.1 million, with indications that a sale is pending.

It has been a steep fall from grace for Brave, once a rising star in the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Brave, the first African American elected sheriff in state history, had backing from the party’s mainstream and progressives in the Black Lives Matter movement.

His endorsement in the Democratic primary race for governor was a big enough get that Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington (D-District 2) put his backing on her website. The campaign later removed his name without comment.

The criminal probe into Brave came to light because he started talking to the press. In June, he disclosed the existence of the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit investigation and used the opportunity to preemptively deny the allegations. He also accused Strafford County Commissioners George Maglaras, Robert Watson, and Deanna Rollo of creating the accusation as a game of dirty politics. Maglaras, Watson, and Rollo are all elected Democrats. 

As the investigation was heating up behind the scenes, Brave went to the press again and accused Maglaras of racism. According to Brave, Maglaras called him a “token.”

In fact, County Administrator Ray Bowers went to County Attorney Tom Velardi this spring when he found suspicious purchases Brave made with his county-issued credit card, according to records made public in the investigation. Verladi did not investigate Brave due to the potential conflict of interest but instead contacted the attorney general.

According to the affidavit written by New Hampshire Attorney General Investigator Allison Vachon, Brave repeatedly used his position and public money to fund his romantic trysts. There were plane trips, hotel stays, meals, and even a family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge, though it is not clear if the Great Wolf Lodge weekend was with his family or the family of a woman he was dating. 

County officials had been concerned about Brave’s spending outpacing his budget for months when an audit found Brave had “maxed out” his county credit card. According to Vachon’s affidavit, the audit also turned up suspicious receipts for an August 2022 trip to Fort Lauderdale.

While Brave would give Bowers and, later, investigators multiple rationales for the Florida trip, it turned out to be an excursion with female Strafford County Sheriff’s Office employee Freezenia Veras.

Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave created a new position in his department for employee Freezenia Veras.

Brave hired Veras for a new position he created just for her in March 2022. Veras’ new title as chief of support services/public information officer didn’t come with a job description, but it did come with a $79,000-a-year salary. Those wages made Veras higher paid than the certified deputies in the office, the ones qualified to engage in law enforcement. Brave would eventually have Veras sworn in as a special deputy, giving her the power to arrest people.

Veras would eventually tell Vachon she and Brave went to Florida to research her new job with other law enforcement agencies. Veras told investigators Brave claimed the meetings were canceled at the last minute, and she spent her time shopping and hanging out by the hotel pool, the affidavit stated.

Brave allegedly used taxpayer funds for trips with multiple women, and then repeatedly lied about it, the affidavit stated. He is charged with eight felonies, including theft, perjury, and falsifying evidence for stealing at least $19,000 from the county. Brave could be sentenced to up to 64 years in prison if convicted on all counts. 

Brave remains Strafford County Sheriff, at least until the next election. He is currently on paid leave from his job. Veras no longer works for the sheriff’s office.

Illegal Immigrant Pleads Guilty in Dover Burglary Bust

According to investigators, a young Dover girl hid under her bed, scared for her life, as Jheisson Rizo Suarez broke into her home during a burglary.

Now, Suarez, 39, from Colombia, is facing his second deportation after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Concord to one count of reentry after deportation.

Suarez is the third high-profile illegal immigrant arrested in New Hampshire in recent months, including a convicted mass murderer and an alleged human smuggler. It is part of a national crisis that has reached from the U.S. border in Texas and Arizona to New Hampshire’s border with Canada.

Some seven million undocumented migrants have poured into the U.S. since President Joe Biden took office, But Democrats like Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), who sits on the Homeland Security Committee, have declined to take any action.

Suarez was arrested in 2021 in connection with the burglary. Police responded to the residence when the girl, alone at the time of the break-in, called 911. According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Hampshire, she reportedly whispered to the 911 operator that an unknown person or persons had forced their way into her home.

Dover police officers soon had Suarez in custody and discovered it wasn’t his first sojourn to the United States. Suarez had been previously deported in 2013, according to prosecutors.

Suarez, due to be sentenced in January, faces up to 10 years in federal prison. His plea comes weeks after Mexican national Reynaldo Velasco-Velasco, 36, was arrested at the Canadian border for allegedly smuggling people into New Hampshire.

Velasco-Velasco had already been deported from the U.S. in 2011 when U.S. Border Patrol agents caught him this month. According to court records,  Velasco-Velasco was illegally leading four other Mexican nationals across the northern border into New Hampshire. 

The smuggler allegedly had two cars ready for the people he was bringing through, and Border Patrol agents stopped the cars as they were trying to flee the border region.

And last month, federal agents raided a home construction site in Rye to arrest wanted killer Antonio Jose De Abreu Vidal Filho, 29. According to federal sources, Filho was in the U.S. illegally after overstaying his visa. The former Brazilian military police officer entered the country legally in 2019, even though he was fleeing prosecution for his role in the Curio Massacre.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Filho was recently convicted along with three other military state police officers of 11 murders, plus charges of attempted murder and physical and mental torture, for his role in the 2015 massacre in the Curio neighborhood in Fortaleza.

El Globo, a Brazilian news outlet, reported the murders had been retaliation for the death of a Brazilian police officer in Fortaleza. Four of the 11 people murdered were teens under age 18; three were between 18 and 19, according to El Globo.

Filho was ordered to serve a 276-year prison sentence for his part in the massacre.

The arrests come as New Hampshire’s northern border is in crisis. This month, Chief Patrol Agent Robert Garcia of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector — which includes the New Hampshire border with Canada — announced more apprehensions in the past year than in the previous decade.

“Over 6,100 apprehensions from 76 different countries in just 11 months, surpassing the last ten years combined. Swanton Sector Agents are resolute and determined to hold the line across our 295 miles of border in northeastern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire,” Garcia said via social media.

Gov. Chris Sununu has been raising the alarm for months and keeps getting turned down when he asks President Joe Biden’s administration for help. This month, Biden’s team rejected Sununu’s request that the federal government restore millions of dollars in border security funding New Hampshire received during the Trump administration. The funding, through Operation Stone Garden, gave the state resources to backstop federal border enforcement actions.

Sununu has not gotten any help from New Hampshire’s all-Democratic federal delegation. Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas have been MIA, according to Sununu.

“I haven’t heard from them. I haven’t heard of any action that they’ve taken with the administration. I haven’t heard of any actual action or results that they have even attempted to bring to the table,” Sununu told NHJournal after the latest Biden rejection.

Asked Monday by NHJournal what they planned to do about the border chaos,  Shaheen, Hassan, Kuster, and Pappas all declined to respond.

While prominent elected New Hampshire Democrats have been silent, state party Chairman Ray Buckley spoke for them, reposting a social media message calling Ayotte a “fascist fearmonger” for focusing on the border.

Presumably, Buckley was not hiding under a bed when he posted that message.

Defamation Lawsuit Against NHDem Chair Buckley Back on Docket

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley could go to trial soon for allegedly defaming state Rep. Dan Hynes (R-Bedford).

The case was revived this week when a New Hampshire Supreme Court ruling found Hynes could sue after the state Democratic Party published incorrect information about his criminal record during his 2018 Senate run. 

Hynes, who is representing himself, appeared in Hillsborough Superior Court — North in Manchester on Wednesday along with the Democratic Party’s attorney, Tim McLaughlin, to discuss the next steps in bringing the lawsuit before a jury.

Both Hynes and McLaughlin agreed with Judge David Anderson to submit a new case ordering structure — essentially a schedule — by Sept. 1. Hynes suggested the Democratic Party may want to refile its answer to his complaint in light of this summer’s Supreme Court decision.

“I think it’s possible for a new answer in the case,” Hynes said.

Hynes sued Buckley and the party after Democrats released election fliers during the 2018 campaign that Haynes said portrayed him falsely. He went on to lose that election.

The flier in question alerted voters to parts of Hynes’s criminal history, though it got some key facts wrong. Hynes got in trouble in 2009 for reportedly sending legal threats to hair salons. 

According to court records, Hynes sent a “Cease and Desist/Demand Letter” to Claudia Lambert, Claudia’s Signature Salon owner in Concord. Hynes claimed that because Lambert’s salon charged women more money for haircuts than men or children, she was engaging in gender discrimination. 

Hynes’ letter demanded that she stop charging women more and pay him $1,000. Lambert’s husband contacted the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, and during a sting operation, an investigator witnessed Hynes taking $500 to settle his claim of unfair trade practices. During that meeting, Hynes reportedly said he had sent other letters to other hair salons and was currently in negotiations with those businesses and their attorneys.

“Dan Hynes targeted woman-owned businesses for extortion. Hynes was charged by Republican Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, convicted by the state of New Hampshire for ‘theft by extortion and disbarred,” the Democrats flier stated.

Hynes initially lost the first round in court when the case was dismissed based on the fact that he had, in fact, been convicted of extortion.

However, that conviction had been annulled before the 2018 election, and New Hampshire law treats annulled convictions as though they do not exist. In addition, while Hynes was, in fact, disciplined and his law license suspended, he was not disbarred.

As a result, the Supreme Court ruled Buckley and the NHPD sent voters mailers that contained factual untruths.

“The fact that the plaintiff was convicted undeniably exists, but as a matter of New Hampshire law, upon annulment, it is false and misleading to fail to state that the conviction was annulled,” the Supreme Court ruled. “In the context of this case, to conclude otherwise could discourage those with annulled criminal records from seeking elective office, a constitutionally protected right.”

There is an exemption if the reporting party was unaware that a conviction had been annulled, but the NHDP flier included an internet link to the relevant court documents, inducing Hynes’ annulment. There was also a link on the flier to documents concerning Hynes’ law license suspension, meaning the NHPD and Buckley knew Hynes had not been disbarred.

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.”

Facing Jail Time, Dem Woodburn Fighting Convictions “Tooth and Nail”

Former Democratic State Sen. Jeff Woodburn is filing another appeal after he was sentenced Thursday to a month in jail on criminal mischief charges connected to the domestic violence case that ended his political career.

“We will defend this tooth and nail,” said Mark Sisti, Woodburn’s attorney.

This week, Coos Superior Court Judge Peter Bornstein denied Woodburn’s motion for a new trial on the two criminal mischief convictions and sentenced him to 12 months in jail on each count, with all but 30 days suspended. That sentence is stayed, meaning he will not have to report to jail until after his appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court is heard.

The state Supreme Court ruled earlier this year Woodburn is entitled to a new trial on the convictions for one count of domestic violence and one count of simple assault. The Supreme Court found Woodburn did not get a fair trial in 2021 since he was not allowed to use a self-defense argument.

According to court records, the convictions stem from Woodburn’s violent actions related to three separate incidents. In the first instance, Woodburn and the woman arrived in separate vehicles at a Dec. 15, 2017, Christmas party, and the woman agreed to drive him home so that Woodburn would be able to drink at the party. During an argument on the drive home, Woodburn had the woman pull over. During a struggle over his phone, he bit her hand, according to court records.

On Christmas Eve of that same year, Woodburn kicked the door to the woman’s house after she refused to let him inside. Earlier that year, in August 2017, he reportedly kicked her clothes dryer, breaking the appliance, according to court records.

The woman went on record telling Bornstein that she tried to grab his phone without permission at one point during her many struggles with Woodburn. Bornstein stated in court that did not rise to the level of behavior allowing Woodburn’s self-defense claims.

But the Supreme Court found there was just enough evidence on record for Woodburn to make a self-defense case.

“Because the record contains ‘some evidence’ supporting a rational finding that the defendant acted in self-defense, the trial court’s refusal to instruct the jury on that theory of defense was unreasonable,” Supreme Court Judge James Bassett wrote.

However, in the same ruling, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the criminal mischief convictions. 

Woodburn and Sisti continue to aggressively pursue appeals. They have been arguing Woodburn should get a new trial on all counts because Woodburn’s prior attorney erred by not seeking separate trials on all the charges, which ended up prejudicing the jury.

Sisti has further argued against the 30 days in jail, saying the sentences for the criminal mischief convictions might have been different if Woodburn had originally been found not guilty of domestic violence and assault.

Sisti said Woodburn will keep fighting the case as long as the state continues to push it. He’s open to a resolution, though.

“If they want to push it, they can push it,” Sisti said. “Jeff’s been open to a resolution to this for the past five years. For some reason, there’s this need to go forward with this.”

Woodburn was formally charged in August of 2018, and, ignoring calls for his resignation, ran for reelection to his Senate seat. Woodburn won the Democratic primary but lost in the general election in 2018.

He was originally tried on nine counts, but the jury found him not guilty of five of the alleged criminal acts.

Is Alleged Sexual Predator Laughton Incarcerated With Women? Superintendent Won’t Say

Stacie Laughton is a convicted sexual predator who stalked a woman and is now accused of heinous crimes against children. Is the former Democratic state representative now incarcerated with women? One GOP House member who served with Laughton is trying to find out.

The placement of transgender inmates, like former Democratic Rep. Stacie Laughton, in New Hampshire jails is up to individual jail administrators as well as the specific medical status of the inmate.

Laughton is currently being held without bail in Valley Street Jail in Manchester for alleged trafficking in child sex abuse images supplied by Laughton’s lover, Lindsay Groves. According to reports, Groves and Laughton are currently jailed at Valley Street pending their trials. 

Valley Street’s superintendent, Joseph Costanzo, did not respond to a request for comment on Laughton’s placement. 

However, Rep. Katherine Prudhomme O’Brien (R-Derry) told NHJournal she had concerns about the safety of women who might be incarcerated with an alleged sexual predator like Laughton, saying she had reached out to the superintendent.

“The superintendent reiterated to me that he can’t tell me where they both are housed and that it’s a security concern,” O’Brien said. “He only shared that they are following federal guidelines of The Prison Rape Elimination Act regarding intersex, binary and trans inmates.

“I am not happy with this lack of information as I do think this is a safety concern for female inmates,” O’Brien added. “Or maybe I should say ‘guests’ as a corrections officer in the state prison told me that’s the new term.”

New Hampshire’s Department of Corrections does not automatically house transgender women in the female population or transgender men in the male population. Hillsborough County Jail is unaccredited and does not follow published guidelines for housing transgender inmates.

In New Hampshire, decisions on transgender inmate housing are generally made on a case-by-case basis. The placement of those individuals tends to correspond with biological sex unless the individual is far along in treatment for a medical sex change, though there are exemptions to allow transgender-identifying individuals to be housed with the gender of their preference despite a lack of medical transition progression.

A legislative effort to tighten up the exemptions for incarcerated people,  HB 1180, “Relative to State Recognition of Biological Sex,” failed last year. The bill would have allowed the Department of Corrections to keep transgender individuals housed with members of their biological sex. Laughton missed the House vote to table the bill in March of last year.

Laughton, born Barry Laughton, has been identifying as Stacie Laughton since at least 2012 when Laughton became the state’s first elected transgender lawmaker. It was not clear how far Laughton’s medical transition had progressed. Laughton appears to be balding with many masculine features, though the convicted felon wears makeup and clothing traditionally identified with women. 

Laughton was married for many years to Lisa Laughton, the alleged co-conspirator in the 2008 fraud case that resulted in the felony conviction that temporarily derailed Laughton’s political career. Laughton has also conducted a long-term sexual relationship with Groves. Both Groves and Lisa Laughton are biological women. 

Laughton and Groves were both arrested last month in the child sex abuse image case. Groves allegedly used her position at Massachusetts daycare facility, Creative Minds in Tyngsborough, to take explicit photos of young children. Groves would then text the images to Laughton.

Laughton and Groves shared approximately 10,000 text messages, at times engaging in graphic discussions about raping children. At one point, Laughton seemingly admitted to past child rape in one conversation, according to court records.

A civil lawsuit filed in Massachusetts alleges Groves herself molested children at the daycare, as well as taking the photos.

Groves and Laughton are facing federal charges connected to the case. Laughton is facing state charges as well. 

Mom Says Child Abused at Daycare Connected to NHDem Laughton

A mother claims Stacie Laughton’s lover sexually abused her young child and that daycare owners did nothing to stop the abuse in a lawsuit filed in the Middlesex Superior Court in Massachusetts.

Former Democratic state Rep. Laughton, 39, is facing state and federal charges for accepting child sex abuse images from Lindsay Groves, 36, the Hudson woman who worked at the Tyngsborough, Mass. daycare, Creative Minds.

Investigators say Groves used her job at the daycare to gain access to 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 abused children in the past and planned to do it again.

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,” Laughton texted to Groves.

Robert Norton, the lawyer for the mother suing Creative Minds, said investigators are likely looking to add more charges to the case against Laughton and Groves, including potential sex abuse charges. Representatives for the U. S. Attorney’s Office in Boston would not comment on the case other than to say the investigation continues.

“There could be many more charges,” Norton said.

As for the lawsuit, Nortson said the Creative Minds owners failed to act despite being told about Groves taking explicit pictures and, in one case, abusing the children in her care.

“They did nothing about the photos, and the daycare owners were put on notice,” Norton said.

The mother filed the lawsuit as Jane Doe to protect her child’s identity. The attorney for Creative Minds could not be reached. Representatives for the daycare did not respond to a request for comment.

As early as 2018, a parent told Creative Minds staff that Groves was “inappropriately touching children,” the lawsuit states. “Despite being told this information, Creative Minds did nothing to protect the children from Lindsay Groves.” 

Norton said Groves started working at Creative Minds in Tyngsboro in 2017 despite having a criminal history that should have barred her from passing a Massachusetts background check. “She couldn’t pass a CORI check.” 

Groves’ Massachusetts record was not immediately available, but news reports from 2021 indicate she was convicted on a felony theft charge in Nashua.

In 2022, Creative Minds owners were again given disturbing information about Groves, this time that she was taking explicit photos. Again, the daycare owners did nothing, according to the lawsuit. “Creative Minds took no action to remove or prevent Lindsay Groves from having access to the children, and, in fact, continued to allow her to be alone with the children.”

One of the many strange details of the investigation is that the 2022 report that Groves was taking explicit photos of the children at Creative Minds came from Laughton.

Norton said Laughton’s 2022 report was not investigated thoroughly but instead became part of the stalking case that put Laughton in jail for weeks after the 2022 election. At the time, Laughton was barred from contacting Groves.

Tyngsborough Police did not respond to NHJournal’s request for comment. They did confirm to WCVB in Boston the department had been informed about the 2022 allegation but as part of the stalking investigation into Laughton.

“The Tyngsborough Police Department can confirm that it did respond on Aug. 26, 2022, to investigate allegations of a violation of a protective order and stalking based on an order out of Nashua District Court involving parties named in the recent Department of Justice case,” the department said in a statement. “As a result of an investigation, it was determined that no criminal violations involving the stalking/protective order had occurred.”

Groves and Laughton were arrested last month in the child sex abuse image case, a culmination of their highly unusual relationship. The pair have been involved in multiple court cases and no-contact orders in the last few years. One case last year landed Laughton in jail for stalking Groves right after Laughton had won reelection 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 them to the police, according to the complaint.

Nashua Democrats backed Laughton, the state’s first transgender lawmaker, in three state representative elections. Last year, state party chairman Ray Buckley listed Laughton among the “LGBTQIA+ Democrats who are the backbone of the Granite State.”

On Wednesday, Buckley tweeted his condemnation of his fellow Democrat whose election he repeatedly supported:

“The latest revelation of apparent horrific criminal activity by Stacie Laughton more than underscores
1. She [sic] should be put away for a very long time.
2. Parties should be able to appeal to the BLC or courts to bar egregious individuals from their ticket.”

Former NH House Dem Appears to Admit Having Sex With Children in Text

Former Nashua Democratic State Rep. Stacie Laughton talked about raping children and appears to admit having committed the crime in the past, according to the federal complaint filed this week.

“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,” Laughton texted to lover and co-defendant, Lindsay Groves.

Investigators combed through 10,000 text messages between the pair this year as part of the child sex abuse image case that’s put them both behind bars for now. 

Prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office in Boston announced Laughton, 39, is now indicted on a federal charge for the sexual exploitation of children and faces up to 30 years in prison on that one count.

Grove, 36, was working at a Tyngsborough daycare where she allegedly took explicit photos of the children in her care and texted them to Laughton. The two discussed the photos and discussed sexually assaulting children, according to prosecutors.

“(A) preliminary forensic review of Groves’ cellphone allegedly revealed over 10,000 text messages between Laughton and Groves that included discussion about, and transfer of, explicit photographs that Groves had taken of children while employed at Creative Minds daycare – including at least four sexually explicit images of children who appear to be approximately three to five years old, as well as explicit descriptions of sex with each other and others, including children,” prosecutors said in a statement.

According to the complaint, Laughton and Grove discussed raping the children at the daycare facility. In one chilling exchange, they discussed how to get away with the horrific crime. Laughton maintained there was nothing wrong with sexually abusing children:

GROVES: You mentioned how I said I was afraid that the kids will run to the parents if we do it with them I wasn’t being serious

LAUGHTON: OK because like I get concerned about that cause I don’t wanna get caught if we do

GROVES: I was joking anyway and you took me serious

LAUGHTON: Oh I know but I just don’t wanna get in trouble. I mean I want to do what we want to do because we like it and we approve of it but others think this is wrong. Lots of parents don’t like people touching their kids and it is against the law …”

Laughton is currently being held without bail on state charges connected to the case. The former state representative will be arranged in the federal court in Boston at a later date. Groves is being held without bail on federal charges brought last month.

Laughton became New Hampshire’s first transgender elected official in 2012, but the most significant history the Nashua Democrat has made is as a criminal. 

Laughton was forced to resign from the House in 2012 after it was learned the newly-elected representative was still on probation on a felony theft charge. Laughton has also been charged with stalking and making bomb threats.

 After regaining the seat in 2020 and winning reelection in 2022, Laughton spent weeks in jail after being charged with stalking and harassing Groves, according to court records. 

Laughton and Groves have a disturbing history of their own. Laughton reportedly harassed Groves and her family off and on for years. After being arrested last year for harassing Groves, Laughton was accused of using a local 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 this campaign of harassment, Laughton referred to Groves as “wife,” though there is no record that they were legally married.

As part of the harassment case, Laughton is alleged to have repeatedly tried to get Groves fired from her job at the daycare and called Groves a pedophile on social media and on her radio program, according to court records.

Federal prosecutors say members of the public with questions, concerns, or information regarding this case should call 617 748 3274. Case information, including links to charging documents and victim resources, can also be found here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/victim-and-witness-assistance-program/united-states-v-lindsay-groves