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Apr 8, 2016 4:22 PM

Lakes Region sheriff's deputy accused of alleged sexual acts with inmates

A former Belknap County sheriff’s deputy has been indicted on nine counts of sexual assault involving several inmates.

The alleged incidents happened in several locations around New Hampshire while victims said they were being transported from the Belknap County jail to Laconia Family Court. Ernest Blanchette removed their handcuffs and forced them into having intercourse while he sat and watched.

Another incident apparently occurred while Blanchette was transporting inmates between the women's correctional facility in Goffstown and a cemetery in Laconia where victims claim Blanchette forced them to have sex with him.

Authorities say it’s a felony crime when a person in a position of authority coerces an inmate to engage in sexual penetration and that mutual consent is not considered a defense.

Blanchette is free on $100,000 cash bail but faces trial dates for all nine counts of sexual assault, with the first scheduled for mid-July.

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