Concord, NH — The Law Enforcement Exploring program offers children and young adults, ages 14-21, who are interested in pursuing a job in law enforcement, ‘practical experiences and other activities.’ All too often, however, these practical experiences turn into nightmares for the teenagers involved in the program.
The trial for one of these nightmares is taking place this week inside a Concord, New Hampshire court. Former Canterbury Police Chief John Laroche is charged with sexually assaulting a former member of the Boscawen Police Explorers. His alleged victim was a 16-year-old girl.
The girl has come forward with claims of sexual assault on multiple occasions and Laroche is not denying them. Instead, he’s taken a different approach, claiming that the high school sophomore made the conscious decision to engage in sexual acts with him.
“It was absolutely consensual,” Laroche said on Monday.
According to WMUR, Laroche testified that he and the girl went on dozens of ride-alongs when he was a Boscawen police officer and a mentor in the program 16 years ago. He said that over time, their conversations took on a sexual tone, and there was some touching.
When speaking of the initial sexual encounter, Laroche described the same scene as the victim, which took place at the town boat ramp. Laroche agreed that he and a 16-year-old high school girl drove down to a boat launch in his police cruiser, while conducting a ride-along for the explorer program, and had a sexual encounter.
Where the stories differ is the when Laroche describes the encounter as ‘consensual.’
“We talked about it all the way down to the boat ramp, so I absolutely believe she was a full participant,” Laroche said.
“I realized it is officially the stupidest thing on the list of stupid things I have ever done in my life,” Laroche said, glazing over the fact that even if it was consensual, he still admits to statutory rape.
According to the girl, however, Laroche forced her out of the car, had his way with her, and that this happened on more than one occasion.
When questioned about the multiple encounters with the girl, on three separate occasions, Laroche gave three separate answers. As prosecutors questioned him about it, Laroche admitted at first that he didn’t remember. He later changed his answer it could have happened. And finally, he is now saying it did not happen.
The prosecution and the girl are saying Laroche used his authority to coerce her into carrying out his sexual desires. Investigators even have Laroche on record talking about how it is fun to flirt with a 16-year-old under his control.
Incidents such as this, in which teen police cadets are sexually assaulted by their mentors, are not uncommon.
Lasy year, former Trumball police officer William Ruscoe began a drastically reduced 30-month prison sentence for handcuffing and raping a teenage girl in his home. His victim was an explorer.
Trever Blackwell, 30, was jailed in September 2014 for raping a 15-year-old girl while she was in the department’s Explorer program.
Before that incident, several sex charges were filed against a former Irwindale police officer who allegedly molested a 14-year-old Explorer Scout.