LACONIA — A judge has ruled that police had probable cause to arrest a convicted sex offender on charges of violating the state’s sex offender registry law when he helped to organize a group of youngsters to help a food distribution drive.
Alger Conger, 80, of 1 Dixon St., in Laconia, was arrested on May 9 after Gilford police received a tip that Conger was having contact with children through his involvement with a committee of the church he attends.
Conger has been charged with violating a law that prohibits registered sex offenders from having unsupervised contact with minors. However, he has yet to be indicted on the charge.
Conger’s lawyer, Allison Schwartz, challenged the arrest at a probable cause hearing, arguing that Conger had not broken the law by merely being in the same room where the youths were helping with a food drive. However, Assistant County Attorney Darla Sedgewick maintained that, by organizing the event, Conger broke the law.
Superior Court Judge James D. O’Neill III ruled that the arrest was proper. In his ruling O’Neill wrote that even though Conger had little direct contact with the group of youngsters who call themselves Cereal Heroes, he nevertheless organized the event at the First United Methodist Church in Gilford, where he would be able be able to interact with them.
O’Neill wrote that the purpose of the sex offender registration statute is to prevent “those who seek to exploit and abuse children … to create opportunities to do so.”
The defense subsequently filed a motion requesting O’Neill reconsider his ruling. That motion was denied.
A hearing is expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks at which time the prosecution and defense will discuss the status of the case.