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Henniker man faces 17 more sex crime charges

James Houghton of Henniker has been indicted for various sex crimes in four of the past five months and now has more than 40 charges pending in Merrimack County Superior Court.

The most recent batch, handed down by a grand jury last month, include 17 charges for possession of child pornography. But 49-year-old Houghton has also been accused of sexual assault by two females, a 10-year-old girl and an adult relative.

The police chief in Henniker, where the initial case against Houghton originated, has called the investigation “long-term and huge.” And yesterday, Merrimack County Attorney Scott Murray said that investigation is ongoing.

He said the indictments have been spread out over several months in part because of the continuing nature of the investigation and in part because the allegations against Houghton span two police departments: Henniker and Concord.

“It isn’t just one police department doing a single investigation and that’s the end of it,” Murray said. “You’ve got two separate police departments. . . . And you’ve got the forensic investigation on the child pornography.”

Houghton was first indicted in December 2012 on charges he sexually assaulted a female relative from 2004, when she was 17 years old, until 2011.

According to a police affidavit, the woman has said she met Houghton when she was 12 and his flirtations turned physical a few years later.

She said he went on to create a list where he dictated which days she 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.

Then in February, while incarcerated on those charges, Houghton was indicted with witness tampering and violation of privacy. The police said he retaliated against the woman for going to the police by asking others to disseminate sexual photographs of her.

The case against him expanded again in March when Houghton was accused of abuse by a second person, a girl who is now 10. The police, who have not described how Houghton knows that girl, say that abuse took place between September 11 and October 2012 in Concord.

Houghton is accused of touching the girl’s genitalia, kissing her lips and rubbing his genitals against her twice, once when he put her in his lap and once when he lay on top of her.

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

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