The age of consent in New Hampshire is 16-years-old. This means that even if the other party is in a position of authority over a teen, any sexual contact can still be found to have been consensual depending on the circumstances. Anyone accused of sexual assault of a person age 16 and up might use this fact as part of a criminal defense strategy to fight related charges.
Over 10 years ago, a former chief of police in New Hampshire was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. Neither the man nor the prosecutor disputed the fact that the two had sexual contact. The issue was whether the activities were consensual or whether the girl was coerced or otherwise forced to have sex with him.
At the time of the incident or incidents, the former police chief was an officer who participated in a Boscawen program to introduce teens to law enforcement. The supposed “victim” was a cadet in the program. When their relationship was discovered, the 45-year-old man was charged with sexual assault, felonious sexual assault and attempted aggravated assault. He was recently acquitted of all of the charges.
When he was charged, he pleaded not guilty. His criminal defense more than likely surrounded the fact that the then teenager willingly participated in the sexual encounters, and since she had reached the age of consent, he asserted that no crime was committed. Although many people in New Hampshire might question the wisdom of his actions, they were apparently not criminal, and the jury took just two hours to decide that he did not deserve to spend time in prison for them.
Source: nhpr.org, “Former Canterbury Police Chief Acquitted of Sex Assault Charges“, June 29, 2016