Henniker man facing rape charges now accused of witness tampering
A Henniker man charged with raping a female relative has now been accused of asking others to circulate photos of the woman engaging in sexual activity.
James Houghton did so as a form of retaliation against the 25-year-old woman who has accused him of repeated sexual abuse, according to the indictment issued last month by a Merrimack County grand jury. Houghton, 49, has been charged with violating the woman’s privacy but also witness tampering, because he committed the crime to punish her for cooperating with the police, according to prosecutor Rachel Harrington.
According to the indictment, the photos show the woman and Houghton engaging in sexual activity. Houghton is accused of trying to disseminate the images by instructing one woman to give the photographs to another woman and requesting that person circulate them further.
Those two women are named in the indictments but not by the Monitor because they haven’t been charged with a crime. Harrington said her office does not have plans to charge those women but declined to say why, adding that in general the decision to prosecute a person connected to a crime depends on several factors, including their personal knowledge of the incident.
The woman who has made the accusations against Houghton said she met him when she was 12, according to a police affidavit. While the relationship began innocently, the woman said that as she got older, Houghton pressured her to dress more provocatively. According to the affidavit, he first raped her when she was 17, then went on to create a list where he dictated what days the woman had to come to his house and what sexual acts she had to perform.
He told her that if she completed the tasks, he would “back off,” according to the affidavit. Houghton is accused of abusing the woman from 2005 to 2011.
Court records show Houghton has violated several orders that he not contact the woman, a fact Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara cited at a January hearing in setting Houghton’s bail at $60,000 cash.
At that hearing, Harrington also told the judge that Houghton was being investigated by the Concord Police Department on other allegations. Yesterday, Concord police Lt. Tim O’Malley said the department has completed that investigation and forwarded the findings to the county attorney’s office, where a prosecutor will decide whether to bring charges.
In all, Houghton is facing nearly two dozen indictments, nine alleging aggravated felonious sexual assault against the woman and two alleging incest, because she is a relative.
He’s also been charged with six counts of possessing child pornography, images a prosecutor said at Houghton’s initial bail hearing that the police found on his computer while looking for indecent photos and videos the woman said Houghton had taken of her.
His trial is scheduled for June.