HUDSON, N.H. (CBS) – A state lawmaker from New Hampshire is facing sexual assault charges against a teenage girl.
The Rockingham County Attorney’s Office charged State Representative Eric Schleien (R-Hudson) with one misdemeanor count of sexual assault and two misdemeanor counts of simple assault. Each charge carries up to one year in jail.
“Whenever someone in a position of authority is charged with something like this, it’s very troubling because they’re in a position of trust,” said Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway.
Court documents accuse the two-term Republican of touching a 16-year-old girl through her clothing without her consent during a car ride from Portsmouth, NH on July 22, 2016. The teenager told police that she had an interest in working in politics.
Conway added that, “Whenever we have a sexual assault case, especially when it involves a young person, we certainly take it seriously and we’ll prosecute it to the best of our ability.”
Schleien’s attorney, Seth Hipple, sent WBZ the following statement:
“Mr. Schleien vehemently denies these allegations. It is important to note that these charges are misdemeanors and do not allege that there was any sort of violence or threats. Mr. Schleien has pleaded not guilty, is cooperating with the process, and expects to be fully vindicated.”
Schleien was elected to represent the towns of Hudson and Pelham, NH. People out and about his district were disgusted to hear details of the allegations.
“They talk with them, they get to know what they like and they pull them in. They’re adults. They should be with other adults,” said Mary Leveroni.
The New Hampshire Democratic Party is calling on Rep. Schleien to resign, and at least one person agrees.
“I think the people need to band together and get him out of the position or force him to resign,” said Katelyn Primmer.
Schleien is scheduled to be arraigned in Rockingham County Superior Court on August 2.