CONCORD, N.H. — A judge has dismissed remaining sexual assault charges against a former Belknap County sheriff’s deputy involving inmates he transported, five months after the state Supreme Court reversed a conviction.
Ernest Blanchette was serving a 10-to-20-year sentence on charges he sexually assaulted a female inmate in 2015. His lawyer argued on appeal that part of a state law’s definition of rape through coercion involves the victim being incarcerated in a correctional facility “where the actor is employed.” He said Blanchette should be exempt because he was employed by the county sheriff, not the prison or jail. The court agreed.
The Concord Monitor reports Belknap County Judge James O’Neill III dismissed four remaining cases. He noted prosecutors failed to name Blanchette’s employer in the indictments.
Belknap County Attorney Adam Woods is reviewing the decisions to determine how to proceed.
Information from: Concord Monitor, http://www.concordmonitor.com