Published Date Written by Gail OberTILTON — The N.H. Supreme Court has agreed to review a circuit court decision that granted a woman a restraining order against a former Tilton man who allegedly sexually assaulted her in 2006.
10th Circuit Court, Portsmouth Division Judge Sharon DeVries ordered that Kenneth Lahm, 54, formerly of 85 Philbrook Road have no contact with the woman known in court documents as J.K., however, Lahm's attorney James Moir has challenged the decision.
According to DeVries findings, published on September 17, 2012, J.K. provided specific and credible details about her allegedly 2006 assault but had declined to testify against Lahm for fear of retaliation. Because of her fear, J.K. fled the state and didn't return until 2009.
Responding to a Right-To-Know request, Tilton Police this week released a redacted incident report of the 2006 arrest of Lahm that detailed the alleged assault and indicated former Belknap County Attorney Lauren Nother tried to interview J.K. the day after she reported the crime but she said J.K. declined to be interviewed.
Police attempted repeatedly to contact her but on January 9 — six days after she reported the alleged assault — J.K. left a message on the Tilton Police officer's voice mail that she didn't wish to go forward with the case. The charge of forcible rape against Lahm was placed on file and the case is considered closed by Tilton Police.
Since 2006, police records show Lahm has allegedly assaulted three other women, in 2008, 2010 and November 2012. Affidavits filed in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division supporting a search of his home in November of 2012 detail the report filed by his alleged latest victim of her being drugged and held captive in his home for nearly a month. Tilton Police executed a warrant and found cocaine and ketamine along with 51 bottle of pills of medication legally prescribed to him. He is charged with two felony counts of drug possession.
According to the ruling granting the restraining order on September 17, 2012 obtained from the N.H. Supreme Court regarding J.K., investigators working on behalf of Lahm approached her in Rockingham County Superior Court on August 1, 2012 where she had appeared for a minor traffic matter.
The two, identified as retired N.H. State Police Sgt. Douglas Call and Matthew Tinkham, used the assistance of a court security officer and a former colleague to locate and approach J.K. who "mistaken believed (and was led to believe) the investigators were police officers and agreed to meet with them in a conference room."
When asked about "Kevin Lahm" she told the court she felt they were police officers and she shared details of her alleged assault. She said she felt "'caught off guard' and 'blindsided.'"
J.K. said when the investigators finished she realized the were not police officers. She said they left the court house and immediately got on their cell phones. She contacted various police officials who she knew and trusted to try and learn what had just happened.
She learned the investigators worked for Lahm. They had apparently tracked her and learned they would find her at the courthouse. She also learned they had previously gone to her parent's home in Exeter and asked her neighbors where she was. That was when she filed for a restraining order against Lahm and his representatives.
DeVries also determined that Lahm had, at one point after the 2006 alleged assault, entered "without any authority, permission or knowledge of J.K." her uncle's home where she had been staying and stood in their kitchen "in an effort to intimidate her not to testify against him."
Lahm's civil attorney Michael J. Sheehan argued that Lahm was unaware of the investigators and that he, as his attorney in a civil action against the police who had originally prosecuted him, had hired the investigators. He told the court that J.K.'s name came up at a deposition at which Lahm was present and he felt it was his duty to find her so he could adequately represent him.
The civil case Lahm filed against the Tilton Police and Det. Michael Farrington for a 2008 arrest for sexual assault citing malicious prosecution was filed in 2011 and dismissed by Judge James O'Neill last fall. The victim in that case also declined to testify against Lahm.
"The Court finds the contention that Respondent (Lahm) was unaware to be unpersuasive," wrote DeVries granting the restraining order. DeVries also noted there was no evidence of a contract with the investigators detailing how and how much they were paid.
DeVries wrote, "The Plaintiff (J.K.) 6.5 years later, has a palpable fear of the respondent reignited by the encounter with the investigator on 8/1/2012."
"She believes he has the financial ability and emotional constitution to continue to harass her and her family. She has moved on successfully with her life and wants to be free from any continued contact from him or his representatives," continued DeVries, finding that Lahm is a "credible threat to her."
Lahm's criminal attorney, James Moir, filed a motion on September 26, 2012 to reconsider DeVries ruling and it was denied. Moir filed an appeal with the N.H. Supreme Court and in December of 2012 the court agreed to hear the appear.
The Daily Sun has learned Lahm had a different criminal lawyer representing him last week in the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division at the probable cause hearing held on the recent drug charges.
Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon found probable cause for the drug arrests and the case will go forward in Belknap County Superior Court.
Tilton Police Chief Robert Cormier said the investigation into the latest alleged assault continues and that he is working with Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen and federal authorities.