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Lawyer says man charged in rape case being investigated on other allegations

A Henniker man charged with raping a female relative is being investigated by the Concord Police Department on other allegations, a county prosecutor said in court this week.

Attorney Rachel Harrington, arguing at a bail hearing for James Houghton, also said a forensic search of his computer uncovered photographs of two teenagers in his community. And while the photos are not sexual in nature, they appear to have been taken without the teens’ knowledge, Harrington told the judge.

She said one of the girls, whom the police believe Houghton photographed while she worked at a local restaurant, did not know who he was.

Houghton, 48, is facing 17 indictments for sexual assault, incest and possession of child pornography.

“The fact that he was actively taking pictures of teenagers in the community coupled with the presence of child pornography on his computer (is a) strong concern for the state,” Harrington said.

Houghton’s attorney, James Quay, seemed blindsided by the information, saying it was the first he had heard of the investigation by the Concord police and objecting to Harrington’s raising the issue in court.

“Those charges are not even before the court,” he said.

Judge Richard McNamara agreed to not take the investigation into account when considering bail. Still, he kept Houghton’s bail at the $60,000 cash set in district court, rejecting Quay’s request that the amount be set at $60,000 personal recognizance and $5,000 cash.

“He shouldn’t be jailed just because he’s poor,” Quay said. “For an indigent person, $5,000 cash is a great deal.”

But McNamara said he was concerned about lowering bail because Houghton has twice been convicted of violating a court order that he have no contact with the same woman named in the new indictments.

The police first charged Houghton in October with sexually assaulting a relative starting in 2004, when she was 17 years old. According to a police affidavit, the now-25-year-old woman told the police she met Houghton when she was 12.

Houghton forced the woman into intercourse several times while she was in high school, with the abuse becoming more frequent after she graduated, the police said. He went on to create a “Promises” list where he detailed what days the woman had to be at his home and what sexual acts she had to perform, according to the affidavit.

The abuse took place between 2005 and 2011, according to the indictments.

Lt. Tim O’Malley of the Concord Police Department confirmed that the department is investigating Houghton but declined to provide details.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or
tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @tricia_nadolny.)

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