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Jun 27, 2016 5:53 PM

Former police chief takes stand in sexual assault trial


CONCORD - The former police chief accused of sexually assaulting a teenage police cadet in 1999 told jurors he and the then 16-year-old girl had one consensual encounter but claims that it was forced is false.

"It was absolutely consensual," said John LaRoche.

LaRoche, 44, was in his late 20's and was an officer with the Boscawen Police Department when the alleged victim said the assaults took place. LaRoche was the supervisor the the Police Explorer program, and the alleged victim was job shadowing in the hopes of pursuing a career in law enforcement.

LaRoche said the alleged victim performed oral sex on him near the Boscawen boat ramp and that she agreed to the act.

"I do not recall whether it was a nod, a yes or an OK but it was a yes," LaRoche said.

LaRoche said that night he and the alleged victim agreed it was innapropriate, and there was no further sexual contact. The woman, who is now 33 years old, testified there were three other assaults which took place in his police cruiser and at the police department. She said she never consented to any of them.

Investigators obtained two recorded conversations with LaRoche when the woman came forward in 2014. In one case LaRoche told investigators it was possible there may have been sexual contact on more than one occasion. During his testimony he told the jury the only encounter was the one night at the boat ramp.

In the other recorded conversation, the woman went into the Canterbury Police Department where LaRoche was the Chief. He apologized to her and said it was the dumbest thing he'd ever done.

LaRoche said he knew his actions were morally wrong but never knew they could be considered illegal.

"So you were having sex with a teenager under your control right?" Attorney Jay McCormack asked.

"Yes," LaRoche responded.

"When you were on duty right?" McCormack asked.

"Yes," LaRoche said.

"So you acknowledge the moral aspect but do you want us to believe that it never crossed your mind that what you were doing was illegal?" McCormack asked.

"Yes," LaRoche said.

The trial will continue on Tuesday.

Colleen Shaughnessy is a multimedia journalist for NH1 News. You can email her at cshaughnessy@nh1.com and follow her on Twitter, @ColleenNH1.

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