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Hosmer bill addresses workplace protections for victims of domestic violence; hearing held

CONCORD — Legislation that would prohibit employers from discriminating against victims of domestic violence while requiring them to provide them reasonable protections in the workplace, sponsored by Senator Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.

Hosmer, who served as an assistant district attorney before joining AutoServ, his family's automobile dealership, said that handling domestic violence cases gave him insight into a cycle of violence that many victims cannot escape. "One of the biggest factors that prevented victims from fully and completely separating from their abusers," he continued, "was their inability to achieve or maintain economic independence. " He explained that abusers often interfere with their victims' work environment and by jeopardizing their employment increase the likelihood they will return to their abusers.

"Nearly three-quarters of abused women reported being harassed by the partner while at work," Hosmer said. "Victims should not have to continue suffering in silence due to thefear they have of losing their jobs."

Seven states have enacted similar legislation to protect victims in the workplace, Hosmer said. .Senate Bill 390 would forbid discrimination in hiring as well as in the terms and conditions of employment.

It would also require an employer to make "reasonable safety accommodation" for a victim of domestic violence unless it could be demonstrated that doing so would "impose an undue hardship of the operation of the business." Hosmer said employers could request victims of domestic violence to produce police reports, restraining orders or other appropriate documentation to confirm their status and qualify for a protective accommodation. Accommodations could include changing telephone numbers, e-mail addresses or work stations.

Hosmer said that he was encouraged by yesterday's hearing. He said that after conducting what he called "an informal poll" of businesses he found most employers "favorable." The bill, he said, "is not onerous, but strikes a balance."

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:59

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New Hampton man charged with soliciting teen for sex

NEW HAMPTON — An alternate member of the town's Planning Board has been indicted by a Belknap County grand jury for two separate counts of knowingly trying to solicit a person, using a computer, he believed to be under the age of 16 to engage in sexual intercourse.

Robert Joseph, 67, of 62 NH Route 132 North was indicted after an investigation conducted by federal authorities, said Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbrandsen.

The alleged Internet offenses occurred between the September 20, 2013 and November 9, 2013.

Joseph is listed on the town's Website as being an alternate member of the New Hampton Planning Board.

He is scheduled to appear for arraignment this morning in the Belknap County Superior Court.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:53

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Tewksbury firefighter is new T-N chief

TILTON-NORTHFIELD — The Board of Fire Commissioners yesterday announced the appointment of Michael W. Sitar, Jr., a 32-year veteran of the Fire Department in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, as chief.

Sitar succeeds Brad Ober, who resigned last year to become deputy chief of the Gilford Fire Department. Sitar will take the oath of office at a ceremony at noon on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Center Street Station in Tilton. The public is invited to attend.

Commissioner Pat Clark said that Sitar, who hails from a family of firefighters, was chosen from a field of more than 20 candidates.

The search committee, chaired by Jim Clements, the chief executive officer of the Spaulding Youth Center, included Scott Davis a commissioner of the Tiulton-Northfield Water Company, Kevin LaChapelle, the Franklin Fire Chief, Steven Bluhm, a Northfield Selectman, Joie Jesseman, a Tilton Selectman, and Joyce Fulweiler, a Northfield resident and the Tilton town administrator. Clark said that the Search Committee and Fire Commission short-listed the same candidates.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:50

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Laconia man 'bundles' several drug charges into one guilty pleas

LACONIA — A 23-year-old Laconia man was sentenced Monday to at least 1 1/2 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for multiple counts of drug possession and assaulting a police officer.

Joseph Morrissette pleaded guilty in the Belknap County Superior Court to one charge for possession of marijuana on April 18, 2013; one count of possession of cocaine on September 24, 2013; and count of resisting arrest and simple assault on September 24, 2013. A separate charge of possession of heroin in March of 2013 was not prosecuted.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of sales of heroin on July 24, 2013.

After his release from prison, Morrissette will be on parole for an additional year and probation after that.

In addition and as part of a "global resolution" or a situation where multiple charges for different offenses are lumped together for a single disposition, Morrissette received a 3 1/2  to seven-year suspended sentence for the charge of possession of cocaine as well as a two- to five-year suspended for the assault on the police officer.

The two suspended sentences are to be served consecutively, which means that should Morrissette re-offend after his release he could face an additional 5 1/2-to-12 years in prison.

He was credited with 117 days of pretrial confinement.

Morrissette was in court Monday for jury selection for a single count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it. The other three cases were working their way through superior court.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:48

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