Early warning? - Northfield police had complaint about Pines janitor last summer


NORTHFIELD — Affidavits released Monday from the 6th Circuit Court, Franklin Division regarding a former Tilton man who allegedly committed multiple sexual assaults on children at the Pine Community Center show a complaint was filed with the police in July of 2015.

The affidavit, which had been sealed for 60 days by Judge Edward "Ned" Gordon at the time of 73-year-old Robert Magoon's arrest, said former Pines Director Jim Doane was told about it. Magoon was a part-time maintenance worker who opened the door for the children before morning classes.

Doane told Magoon not to be in the building with any of the children and the investigation was dropped by the Northfield Police.

In early May, Magoon was arrested and charged with multiple counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault for inappropriately touching at least four girls between 6 and 7 years old. Affidavits also indicate that he is charged with one count of simple assault for kissing a 13-year-old girl on the lips.

A review of some video cameras inside the game room showed Magoon with one identifiable child on his lap and with a second unidentified child on his lap. Both children were coloring. Affidavits said Magoon and one child left the room for about one minute and returned to the game room where the child got on his lap. Police said the video should him touching her buttocks and playing with her hair.

Affidavits said two employees said they saw children sitting on Magoon's lap.

As of last month, the investigation into Magoon's alleged activities is continuing and he had not been indicted by a Merrimack County grand jury.

As for the Pines Community Center, Doane resigned shortly after Magoon's arrest.

In the interim, the board of directors of the Pines Center has changed the way the before-school program works, added additional video cameras to the center, and doesn't allow any children inside unless there are two staff members available.

Magoon is being held on $150,000 cash-only bail in the Merrimack County House of Corrections.

Anderson named head of Public Works


LACONIA — Wesley Anderson, a resident of the city, has been hired as the director of Public Works, succeeding Paul Moynihan, who is retiring this week.

Anderson served in the United States Army for 25 years, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his career, he was public works director at several large military installations, both at home and abroad. Since leaving the Army, he has served as public works director in the village of Lombard Illinois, a town of 44,000, from 2001 to 2007; and in the city of Greenville, North Carolina, with a population of 82,000, from 2007 to 2012. Since 2012, he has been director of central fleet management for the city of Manchester, overseeing department of 27 employees and maintaining a fleet of 500 vehicles.

A registered professional engineer, Anderson earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical and oceanic engineering at the University of Rhode Island and a master's degree in construction at Southern Polytechnic University.

Myers said Anderson brings 35 years of diverse professional experience to the position. He will begin work with the city on Aug. 15.

Firefighters battle brush fire in Gilmanton


GILMANTON — A bolt of lightning from Friday's night's storm struck a large pine tree in the woods off Hattie Smith Road and caused a swamp grass fire that brought firefighters from all over central New Hampshire.

Fire Chief Joe Hempel said the fire was reported around 5:30 p.m. Saturday and that there never were any homes in danger.

"We found the point of origin," said Hempel on Monday who was with crews from Gilmanton, Laconia, Belmont and Alton, who returned to make sure all of the hot spots were completely extinguished. "The pine tree likely smouldered for a while before igniting some grass and brush around it."

Hempel said 1.67 acres burned but it was in a location that was about ¾ of a mile from the road and had to be accessed by foot or all-terrain vehicles.

He said about 50 firefighters were there Sunday night and more were called to cover area fire stations.

"We needed a lot of water," Hempel said, adding that firefighters received some help from a DHART helicopter pilot who was in the area and was able to pinpoint where the fire was burning as well as a stream that was nearby.

"We got all of our water from the stream using floating pumps," he said.

Hempel said he hopes there is some rain on Tuesday as is forecasted.

"It's still very warm. We've a long way to go without getting any rain," he said.

07-25 Gilmanton brush fire

Firefighters take a rest Monday around noon after spending the morning putting out the remains of a brush fire off Hattie Smith Road Sunday night. Piled behind them are axes, shovels, rakes and chainsaws. Hattie Smith Road is just off Route 140 about half way between Gilmanton Center and the Iron Works. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun Photo)