Former Concord High teacher charged with child sex crimes

By EILEEN O’GRADY

Monitor staff

Published: 02-05-2021 12:24 PM

A Concord High School teacher was arrested Thursday after police say he solicited sexual activity from a minor in exchange for money, and obtained images depicting child sexual abuse.

Joshua Harwood, 36, of Manchester, who taught business at Concord High School, was arrested by Concord Police on several charges, including prostitution involving a child under the age of 18, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of prostitution/solicitation to commit sexual contact. He has also been charged with two counts of manufacturing child sexual abuse images, and possession of child sexual abuse images.

In a letter to district families sent Thursday afternoon, interim Superintendent Kathleen Murphy said Harwood is no longer employed by the district.

Concord Police were notified about allegations of inappropriate online activity and past physical activity in December. A Dec. 21 letter to the community from Murphy said a former Concord High School student reported the behavior to a school administrator on Dec. 16, alleging that the teacher was engaging in “inappropriate online solicitation.” The district alerted the police immediately, according to Murphy.

Following an investigation, Concord Police detectives, the Manchester Police Department and the NH ICAC Task Force, allege that Harwood engaged in physical sexual activity with a person under the age of 18 in exchange for money. Police also say Harwood solicited sexual activity from a person over the age of 18 in exchange for money.

Police also say Harwood engaged in sexually explicit online activity with a person under the age of 18, and sought out and received videos depicting child sexual abuse in exchange for money.

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The investigation indicated that Harwood was a Concord High School teacher at the time the alleged offenses of solicitation occurred.

Harwood was hired by the Concord School District in July 2020, according to Murphy. The CHS website shows that his schedule this semester included classes in Money Management, Economics, and Entrepreneurship.

Murphy addressed the arrest in a letter to families Thursday, where she wrote she is “outraged” by Harwood’s behavior. He was placed on administrative leave and banned from school property in December, pending the result of the investigation, Murphy wrote. 

“The District hired him in late July 2020 as a new employee, with the expectation of professionalism and as a positive role model for our students,” Murphy wrote. “Our district remains committed to maintaining the highest possible professional standards for the education, care, and safety of our students.”

Before Concord High School, Harwood taught business at Southern New Hampshire University. He also taught at Manchester Community College and Daniel Webster College, according to a 2018 faculty profile of him that appeared in the Penmen Press, SNHU’s student newspaper.

The incident comes nearly two years after the arrest of former Concord High teacher Howie Leung, who is now facing child rape charges in Massachusetts. Leung’s arrest resulted in upheaval in the district, the resignation of superintendent Terri Forsten and CHS principal Tom Sica, and an investigation into the school district’s handling of reports.

Following months of backlash and questions, the district has since hired a student safety compliance officer, updated student safety policies, performed Title IX training and created clearer avenues for reporting.

Harwood refused bail and is being held at the Merrimack County House of Corrections. He is scheduled to be arraigned at Merrimack County  Superior Court on Friday.

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