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N.H. Supreme Court: Investigation Into Alleged Racial Attack in Claremont Will Remain Confidential

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Britta Greene / NHPR
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The New Hampshire Supreme Court has denied a request by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office to release records about its investigation into a high-profile alleged racially-motivated attack in Claremont two years ago.

In August 2017, the family of an 8-year old boy reported that a group of teenagers had put a rope around the boy's neck and pushed him off a picnic table, requiring him to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. 

That fall, Attorney General launched an investigation with local police, the FBI, and the U.S. Attorney's office. 

Juvenile records are usually confidential, but Attorney General Gordon MacDonald asked permission to release 400 pages of his investigation, with the witnesses and alleged perpetrators’ names redacted, so that the public could understand the government's "ability to deal competently" with social justice issues.

In a decision issued on Tuesday, the Supreme Court sided with a lower court’s ruling, saying this would violate laws protecting delinquent minors from adult criminal proceedings and punishments.

In keeping with the lower court's ruling, the Court ruled the Attorney General can release its 25-page final report and acknowledge publicly that a delinquency petition was filed against one of the juveniles.

The Attorney General's office did not say when it plans to release the report.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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