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Former New Hampton fire chief convicted, sentenced for sexual assault

David Clement, the former New Hampton fire chief, attends a bail hearing on six counts of felonious sexual assault and six misdemeanor counts in Merrimack County Superior Court; Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Clement is currently awaiting trial on sexual assault charges in Belknap County.

(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor staff)

David Clement, the former New Hampton fire chief, attends a bail hearing on six counts of felonious sexual assault and six misdemeanor counts in Merrimack County Superior Court; Wednesday, June 6, 2012. Clement is currently awaiting trial on sexual assault charges in Belknap County. (Alexander Cohn/ Monitor staff)

A former New Hampton fire chief pleaded guilty to several counts of sexual assault of a young girl dating back to 2002 and has been sentenced to 12 to 40 years in state prison.

David Clement, 59, pleaded guilty to seven counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault Feb. 1 in Merrimack County Superior Court. The charges came from both Merrimack and Belknap counties. He also received a suspended sentence of 10 to 20 years. The sentencing was combined in part to spare the victim from going through the process twice, Belknap County Attorney Melissa Guldbransen said yesterday.

Clement, who retired from the New Hampton Fire Department in 2008, was out on bail between the time of his indictment in May and his sentencing.

Between 2002 and 2011, Clement engaged in sexual activities with a girl who was 8 years old when the assaults began. The incidents occurred in New Hampton and Loudon. Several of the charges are for pattern sexual assault, which means the same action occurred on multiple occasions in the time frame of more than two months and less than five years.

The abuse came to light in late 2011 through an investigation that began in Belknap County by the Division of Children, Youth and Families. When the investigation found that several incidents occurred in Loudon, the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office was alerted to the case. In December 2011, a grand jury in Belknap County indicted him on three felony counts and one misdemeanor count of sexual assault and one count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault. Then in May, a grand jury in Merrimack County indicted him with six felony counts and six misdemeanor counts of sexual assault, court records show. Several of those charges were dropped as part of the plea deal.

He will serve several of his sentences concurrently. He faces two concurrent terms of 10 to 20 years in prison for assaults that occurred in Loudon between 2005 and 2010 and assaults that occurred in New Hampton between 2009 and 2010. He also faces two concurrent sentences of 2 to 20 years for incidents that occurred in Loudon between 2005 and 2007 and in New Hampton between 2003 and 2006.

Clement’s future parole will be subject to completion of a sexual offender program.

On Feb. 1 he also signed a notice of requirement to register as a sexual offender, which says he must report to his local law enforcement agency within five business days of his release from prison.

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or
kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @kronayne.)

=s life sentence

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