Published Date Written by Gail OberTILTON — A local man is being held on $3,000 cash bail for allegedly having a 20-year-old disabled man perform oral sex on him.
Thomas F. Gardner, 54, of 234 Sanborn Road is charged with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of indecent exposure and lewdness.
According to affidavits obtained from the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division, at 12:15 p.m. on January 17, the Tilton Police received a call from a man who reported seeing a man having oral sex with a child in a car at an unnamed trailer park. He described the car and gave a license number. but the cell phone call got disconnected.
Police responded to South Windy Trailer Park, where they believed call originated, but found nothing.
About one hour later, police got a second phone call from the same man who said the suspect's car was now parked in the yard of a home on Sanborn Road, just past the J. Jill factory.
He explained he was the one who called earlier but lost cell phone reception. He said the incident he saw was at the Sherryland Park off School Street in Tilton.
Police went to house on Sanborn Road, found the car and Gardner came over to talk with them as they were getting out of their unmarked cruiser. Detectives explained why they were there and said Gardner didn't seem upset or defensive. He said he told them had been driving around with the young man who, he said, was now in the house lying down.
Police said Gardner seemed apprehensive about letting the two detectives into the house, explaining the young man was disabled.
Det. Matt Dawson said he told Gardner he would like to go inside and see if the young man was alright and Gardner allowed him into the house. Dawson said the young man was obviously disabled, with short black hair and could easily pass for a child. He said because of his disability there was no way for police to communicate with him.
Detectives said Gardner offered to take a polygraph test and said he wanted to know what would happen to the people who had originally called the police if he was found to be telling the truth.
Detectives next contacted the caller and asked him and a second man who was with them to meet them at Sherryland Park and show them exactly where the alleged assault took place.
After meeting with them at the park, Dawson asked both men to come to the police station and make formal statements.
According to one of the men, the two were looking for trailers for sale in the park when they heard someone drive by them. He said they got back into their car and his friend drove up to the Volkswagen that appeared to have only one occupant. He told police he was going to ask the driver if he had any information about trailers for sale in the park.
The man told police he reached the Volkswagen and saw a man with a gray beard, wearing a hat who had his hands on the steering wheel and the window down. When he looked into the vehicle he said he saw the man's erect penis was out of his pants.
He told police he saw what he thought was a young boy performing fellatio on the man.
The man told police he challenged Gardner and Gardner began stuttering.
The man said he got back into his vehicle and asked his friend, the driver, if he saw the same thing and the friend called 9-1-1.
Detectives next interviewed the driver. He told them that when his friend approached the car he saw what he thought was a young man with dark hair sit up in the passenger seat.
M.C. called the police to report what he had seen and said in his statement that he called again when he saw the same vehicle parked on Sanborn Road about an hour later.
Police contacted the alleged victim's mother who said her son was autistic, had two brain disorders, a seizure disorder, and a neurological disorder.
Gardner did not have an attorney during his appearance in Franklin Court yesterday, however a man who said he was Gardner's brother and was an attorney in Massachusetts, but not licensed in New Hampshire, was in the front row.
He told Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon, who allowed him to speak briefly on his brother's behalf, that the family was working on hiring a lawyer and said the requested $5,000 cash bail would "be like a million dollars" to the family. He assured the court that Gardner wasn't going anywhere.
Gordon set bail at $3,000 cash and ordered Gardner to have no contact with the young man, the young man's mother, or either of the two witnesses.