GOP Lawmaker Charged With Groping Teen

Rep. Eric Schleien faces misdemeanor sexual assault charges
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 14, 2017 4:10 PM CDT
State Lawmaker Sexually Assaulted Teen Girl: Charges
New Hampshire Rep. Eric Schleien has been accused of sexually and physically assaulting a 16-year-old girl last year under the guise of discussing her interest in politics.   (Jim Cole)

A New Hampshire state lawmaker has been charged with sexually and physically assaulting a 16-year-old girl last year under the guise of discussing her interest in politics, the AP reports. Republican Rep. Eric Schleien has been charged with one misdemeanor count of sexual assault and two misdemeanor counts of simple assault, Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway said Friday. Schleien's attorney said he vehemently denies the allegations. According to police documents, Schleien approached the teen at a cafe on July 20, 2016, and struck up a conversation after he noticed a political sticker on her laptop. She told police they exchanged phone numbers after he suggested he could introduce her to other politicians and help her network and that she agreed to meet him two days later.

Instead of discussing politics, 29-year-old Schleien scared the girl with sexually explicit talk, sucked on her fingers, and groped her inner thigh, she said. The girl told police Schleien described a list of sexual things he wanted to do to her, including "rape" her mouth, and asked her to go to his apartment. She declined. Police say the girl "was afraid to say anything because she was afraid that he would become mad and would do something worse or not take her home." Schleien, through his attorney, claims the girl told him, "I feel very safe around you." Text messages reviewed by police show the girl told a friend during the meeting that she was uncomfortable and scared. The girl reported it to police the next day. Schleien was arrested and charged in April. (Read more sexual assault stories.)

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