NH state rep faces sexual assault charge – WMUR Manchester

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A New Hampshire state representative has been charged with sexual assault, the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office announced on Friday.

Eric Schleien, 29, of Hudson, is charged with one misdemeanor count of sexual assault and two misdemeanor counts of simple assault.

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The charges are related to an incident on July 22, 2016, involving a 16-year-old girl.

Court paperwork indicated the girl went to the Portsmouth Police Department at 1:30 a.m. the next day, alleging that the state representative had assaulted her while they were in the city earlier that evening.

The arrest affidavit alleged that Schleien met the teen at a cafe in Exeter, talked to her about the political sticker on her laptop and offered to help her with her interest in politics.

According to the court paperwork, he met her at the cafe two days later and drove her to Portsmouth. She told investigators that while sitting in Prescott Park, his conversation became sexually explicit. She said they went to dinner, and it continued, and that she said she needed to go home.

The girl told police the situation became physical once they were in his car in the parking garage.

Schleien’s attorney issued a written statement to detectives last September. According to an excerpt from their filed affidavit, he denied any unwanted sexual touching, activity or contact and claimed that the teen told him, “I feel safe around you,” when they were in the car before leaving Portsmouth

Schleiein will be arraigned on Aug. 2.

Schleien, a Republican, is serving his second term in the New Hampshire House. He represents Hudson and Pelham.

In the 2016 legislative session, the libertarian-minded lawmaker sponsored or cosponsored 17 bills, and four of them were signed into law.

He was the chief sponsor of a bill recently signed into law that re-codified the medical conditions that can be legally treated by marijuana and deleted a requirement that a medical provider document how an injury affects a patient’s activities of daily living.

A related bill sponsored by Schleien and signed into law added chronic pain as a qualifying condition for therapeutic use of marijuana.

He also sponsored bills to add opioid addiction and fibromyalgia as qualifying medical condition, but those bills were killed by the House.

Schelien also introduced a bill that would have limited the ability of an institution in the state university system to restrict a student’s right to speak in a public forum, including verbal speech, holding a sign of distributing fliers or other materials.

According to VoteSmart.org, Schleien in 2016 received an 84 percent rating from the conservative House Republican Alliance. He was endorsed in 2016 by the National Rifle Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire.

Schleien endorsed Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in the 2016 first-in-the-nation presidential primary campaign.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Gov. Chris Sununu said, “Sexual assault will not be tolerated in New Hampshire, and I applaud the authorities for taking aggressive action to fully investigate these disturbing allegations.”

House Speaker Shawn Jasper, who is also a Hudson Republican, said, “Anytime one of our members faces charges such as these we take it very seriously. The fact that the accusations against Rep. Schleien involve a 16 year old girl is very disturbing, to say the least. But we need not rush to judgement until the investigation is concluded and Rep. Schleien has had his day in court. Obviously if the charges are proven true, I would expect the representative from Hudson to resign from the House immediately.”

The state Democratic Party demanded Schleien’s resignation immediately, however.

“Republican Rep. Schleien must resign,” said former NHDP Chair Kathy Sullivan. “We assume the governor and the New Hampshire Republican Party will set the right example by condemning Rep Schleien’s actions and demanding his resignation as well.

“We all agree that sexual assault should not be tolerated in this state. The governor should wield the full strength of his office to make certain that is a reality.”

Schleien is CEO and a financial adviser at EISCO Value Partners LLC, an investment advisory firm in Hudson, according to his LinkedIn page.