The first openly transgender state representative in New Hampshire was arrested days after the election on charges of stalking for the second time since August, making the alleged restraining order violation only the latest on the convicted felon’s rap sheet.
Born Barry Charles Laughton Jr., 38-year-old Democrat Stacie-Marie Laughton was elected to represent Nashua, New Hampshire District 31 in 2020. After a successful reelection campaign, he secured another two-year term on Nov 8 only to be arrested Nov 12, according to Reduxx magazine.
As the outlet explained, an unidentified woman living in the same community as Laughton had requested a restraining order be taken out against the representative in July. By August, Laughton had attempted to contact the woman leading to a September arrest and subsequent release from custody
New Hampshire's first openly transgender elected official has been arrested on charges of stalking a woman.
Stacie Laughton was re-elected to the state's House of Representatives on November 8 despite having a lengthy criminal history.https://t.co/mo33zz4xRC
— REDUXX (@ReduxxMag) November 21, 2022
The second offense led to the most recent arrest just days after the midterm election. “There was virtually no media coverage of his September arrest, which likely meant voters were unaware of it ahead of the November 8 elections,” Reduxx reported.
Laughton’s legal troubles stretch as far back as 2008 when he served four months in prison after being convicted of a felony credit card and identity fraud as well as falsifying physical evidence. It is against the law in New Hampshire for a convicted felon to seek or hold public office in the state until final discharge, which for Laughton wouldn’t happen for several more years.
As a result of the conviction coming to light, the then-representative-elect withdrew before taking office. Another attempt to run two years later was denied on the same grounds and in 2015, Laughton was arrested yet again for calling in a bomb threat to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center which resulted in a reduced charge misdemeanor and a six-month suspended jail sentence.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. It was totally out of character for me,” he claimed at the time.
Troubles with the law continued for Laughton even after successfully taking office in 2019 as a selectman before getting elected to the NH House in 2020 as, in 2021, he was charged with seven counts of providing false information to 911 after sending text messages to the police summoning them to his home between May and July of that year and later denying it.
Fellow Democratic Rep. Timothy Horrigan came out in defense of Laughton, using the man’s preferred pronouns as he wrote in response to an individual who argued many state politicians were transplants from Massachusetts. “She’s gotten into a lot of trouble over the years & she keeps getting into trouble, but she’s basically a good person. She’s not violent or abusive, or harmful to anyone other than herself.”
FWIW, Rep.Laughton is a lifelong Granite Stater.
She's gotten into a lot of trouble over the years & she keeps getting into trouble, but she's basically a good person. She's not violent or abusive, or harmful to anyone other than herself.
— Timothy Horrigan (@TimothyHorrigan) November 15, 2022
New Hampshire House Democratic Majority Leader David Cote was more impartial when he said Laughton, “is entitled to the due process and presumption of innocence afforded to all accused persons,” and that he has, “full confidence that New Hampshire’s judicial system will take appropriate and swift actions to protect the rights of the accused and any victims.”
As to those Granite Staters concerned by the arrest of their legislator, Paul Smith, Clerk of the New Hampshire House of Representatives said, unfortunately, “There are no rules. There is no automatic process for expulsion,” when it comes to representatives being charged with a crime.
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