Both the Rollinsford and Dover police departments are undertaking internal investigations following a domestic violence call last week that resulted in the arrest of an off-duty police officer’s wife.
On July 10, Rollinsford police arrested Sarah Letendre after her husband, a police officer in Dover, called 911 alleging she had assaulted him inside their family home. She has since been charged with domestic violence simple assault.
Supporters of Sarah Letendre, however, claim her husband, a former mixed martial arts fighter, engaged in a pattern of abuse against his wife in recent months. Hospital discharge papers provided to NHPR by Letendre's family show that she sustained multiple rib fractures during the altercation.
The case is garnering significant attention on social media, where supporters of Sarah Letendre are claiming law enforcement showed bias toward a fellow police officer during the arrest.
In Facebook posts, both the Rollinsford Police Department and Dover Police Department say they are undertaking an investigation into how the situation was handled.
“The Town is engaging with an outside agency to conduct a review of how this case was managed by our Police Department to assure we are continuing to meet our own high standards of equity, dignity, and respect for all those with whom we come in contact,” Rollingsford Police Chief Robert Ducharme wrote in a statement. “The report of that investigation will be made available to the public as soon as possible.”
The Dover Police Department said it is aware of the allegations being made against their officer, and that it is “conducting an internal investigation and will take action if it is determined that the officer violated departmental policies.”
Rallies are planned for this weekend against both police departments for their handling of the incident.
According to court paperwork, Sarah Letendre allegedly physically assaulted her husband on the evening of July 10, and that he was forced to “physically restrain her until police arrived on scene.”
On Monday, a judge issued a temporary order of protection prohibiting Sarah Letendre from coming within 300 feet of her husband. He also filed an emergency motion for child custody, as well as divorce paperwork claiming “extreme cruelty” and adultery.
Early on the morning of July 11, Letendre allegedly violated the order of protection after entering the home to obtain her purse. After being pulled over by Rollinsford police, Letendre fled the scene, resulting in a warrant being issued for her arrest.
Letendre turned herself in to law enforcement Thursday afternoon.
Family members allege that she was the victim of repeated abuse from her husband.
“He is attempting to make her look like the aggressor in order to hide his current and past abuse,” Jessica Newman, Sarah Letendre’s sister, posted on a GoFund Me page attempting to raise money for her legal fees. “He has also threatened that he will make it so she can never see her two kids again.”
On July 14, a domestic violence petition on behalf of Sarah Letendre was filed in district court in Ossipee against her husband. Letendre alleges that her husband “regularly makes verbally abusive and derogatory statements.”
Letendre alleges that during the altercation, her husband assaulted her, including striking her in the rib cage. “I heard and felt a crack and cried out in pain,” she wrote in the petition.
Letendre alleges that her husband installed a tracking device on her vehicle earlier this year. She also alleges at least two prior instances of assault.