N.H. State Rep Charged With Domestic Violence Assault Resigns | New Hampshire Public Radio

N.H. State Rep Charged With Domestic Violence Assault Resigns

Aug 27, 2020

Rep. Robert Forsythe, who is running for re-election this year, waves to a resident at the Boscawen Transfer Station in this file photo from 2014.
Credit JULIE BYRD-JENKINS

Update: Rep. Robert Forsythe has resigned, the Concord Monitor reports

A New Hampshire state representative is accused of choking a pregnant intimate partner and kneeing her in the back during a domestic assault earlier this summer in Boscawen.

Republican Rep. Robert Forsythe, 38, who is seeking re-election this November, faces one felony count of second-degree assault and two misdemeanor counts of domestic violence in connection with the incident in the early-morning hours of June 28. Forsythe, a Boscawen resident, is out of jail on bail conditions, including electronic monitoring, pending the resolution of the case in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord.

When reached by phone Wednesday morning, Forsythe declined to comment. He announced his resignation Thursday.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

House Republican Leader Dick Hinch condemned the alleged behavior but stopped short of calling on Forsythe to resign from office.

“Domestic violence and assault are unacceptable and wrong and have no place in our society,” Hinch said. “Rep. Fosythe is the only person who can put pen to paper, and sign a resignation letter. The people of Boscawen have the right to ask him to resign if they believe he can no longer represent them. They also have the ability to vote for alternative candidates, including write-ins, if they believe they no longer want Rep. Forsythe to represent them in Concord. "

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has called on Forsythe to step down.

"Sexual and domestic violence will not be tolerated in New Hampshire,” Sununu said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Robert Forsythe must resign. Immediately."

Boscawen police responded to the area of Elm Street on June 28 at about 1:20 a.m. for a report of domestic violence incident. Officer Bruce Barton encountered Forsythe, whom he recognized from multiple prior contacts, outside a residence, and observed that Forsythe appeared to be “very intoxicated,” according to a sworn police affidavit.

When asked what happened, Forsythe replied that “he was raped,” the affidavit says.

Inside the residence, police spoke with a woman who said she had invited Forsythe over to her home so he could “sober up.” She told police she observed a knife in his waistband, and that when she asked him why he had it, he said “because it made her scared,” according to the affidavit.

The woman recalled that at one point she talked about her pregnancy with Forsythe, noting that the baby could be his, and then she and Forsythe began to “fool around,” the affidavit says. She said out of nowhere Forsythe then “freaked out” and assaulted her in several different ways.

She reported that he kneed her in the back and grabbed her by the arms to move her out of his way. She also said Forsythe put his hands around her neck and applied pressure, squeezing from both sides, the affidavit says.

Able to grab hold of the knife in Forsythe’s waistband, the woman escaped and left the residence. While outside, she said, she could hear him banging on the washer and dryer and screaming, so she dialed 911, police said.

While she waited for police to arrive, Forsythe met her outside and demanded his car keys. In response, she said, she went inside to look for them, but locked the door behind her, in an effort to keep Forsythe outside. However, Forsythe kicked the door down and made entry into the residence, where the woman and her children were inside, according to the affidavit.

Officers observed a broken door jamb and window blind while inside the home.

Assisted by New Hampshire State Police, Boscawen officers took Forsythe into custody at the scene. According to the affidavit, he resisted arrest and attempted to run, but officers were able to handcuff him and get him into the cruiser, where he continued to kick.

Forsythe is under the supervision of the county’s pretrial services program, meaning he is subject to daily check-ins and a curfew, and must submit to random drug and alcohol testing. Following the arrest, a judge ordered that Forsythe not be released from jail until he was outfitted with a GPS ankle monitor. As part of his bail conditions, Forsythe is prohibited from coming within a  half-mile of the victim’s home or her place of employment.

Forsythe, who is running unopposed in the Republican primary, most recently served on the House Education Committee. He is a strong advocate of Second Amendment rights and supporter of open carry laws.

This past legislative session, Forsythe introduced a bill aimed at legalizing violations of  a restraining order if the victim welcomes it. Under the bill, a defendant would be excused from criminal liability if it could be proven that he or she had contact with the plaintiff after the plaintiff initiated or requested that contact. The bill was ultimately voted “inexpedient to legislate” and killed by the House in March. Advocates said at the time that the bill would have weakened the power of protective orders and had dangerous implications for domestic violence victims.

A dispositional conference in the domestic violence case is scheduled for Oct. 14 in Concord.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.

This post was updated Thursday, Aug. 27, with the news that the state representative had resigned.