BY GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
MANCHESTER — A jury should know that former Belknap County Sheriffs Deputy Sgt. Ernest Justin Blanchette has been indicted elsewhere for two additional counts of rape against the same victim, said the Hillsborough North Assistant County Attorney who is prosecuting him.
Prosecutor Michael Zaino said in his motion Tuesday that Blanchette, 36, was indicted in Belknap County for two counts of raping the same victim in events that took place before the crime he is trying.
Under most circumstances, "prior bad acts" are not presented to the jury; however, Zaino said in this case it shows that Blanchette "groomed" the victim during those events.
Blanchette faces multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault for alleged sexual actions he took while transporting several different people to and from jails and courts throughout the state. He has not been convicted of anything and is free on $100,000 cash bail.
In Ziano's pleading, he said that the jury should be able to evaluate on its own whether Blanchette coerced his victim by giving her cigarettes and allowing her to use his cell phone on Sept. 18, 2014, and again sometime in late 2014. Zaino said Blanchette knew these were things she was unable to get while in prison.
During the Sept. 18 encounter, Blanchette transported a prisoner, referred to as "BH," to a dental exam in Tilton. Zaino contends that he allowed BH to use his cell phone on her way there and she called a number of friends and family. Once there, he unhandcuffed her and allowed her to smoke one of two cigarettes she had.
After her appointment, she told police that he allowed her to sit in the front of the transport van without handcuffs. She said he started complaining about his marriage and she said she told him she wished she could have sex with her boyfriend.
She said that while in Belmont, he made an abrupt turn down a long dirt driveway to an abandoned house. She told police she thought he was going to handcuff her and put her in the back of the van, so she walked in that direction.
Once at the back of the van, she said he took off his duty belt and placed it in the van. She told police she became uncomfortable and said, "Is this really happening?" to which he allegedly replied, "It could if you want it to."
In her statement to police, she said he kissed her on the lips and then exposed himself. She said the two engaged in sexual intercourse. BH told police she felt that she couldn't say no.
She told police she went to the dentist again in late 2014 and this time Blanchette allegedly provided the cigarettes and allowed her to use his cell phone. On the return trip, she said there was an accident and Blanchette stopped to assist, so there was no time for any other actions. She told police that she was relieved to get back to jail because of what had happened previously.
On July 2, Blanchette transported her from the Belknap County Superior Court to the New Hampshire State Prison for Women in Goffstown. He again provided her with cigarettes and a cell phone. Once in Bedford, she told police that Blanchette drove to an abandoned house, where they again had sex.
"During all relevant times, B.H. believed that (Blanchette) was the boss relative to his position as a sergeant in the (Belknap County) Sheriffs Department and that no one would believe her word over his."
Earlier this month, Blanchette's attorney filed a motion to allow the jury to hear a snippet of a telephone conversation recorded between her and a friend while she was incarcerated that indicated she wanted to have sex with Blanchette because he was "sexy."
Blanchette's attorney confirmed yesterday that they are scheduled to pick a jury on Monday and that the hearings on the pending motions will be heard in the afternoon. The case is being tried in the Hillsborough North Superior Court in Manchester.
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 1201