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Bow man sentenced to prison for sexually assaulting boy on family’s farm

  • Patrick Nylen Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 2/24/2020 4:39:33 PM

A father recalled in court Monday driving south to a Texas army base to support his son who after years of silence had just disclosed to relatives that he was the victim of sexual abuse.

The boy had worked on a family-owned farm in Bow at ages 12 and 13 and accused his former employer, Patrick “Rick” Nylen, of repeated attacks.

That first night in Texas, the father recalled how his adult son broke down from him across the dinner table. 

“He said, ‘I’m sorry, dad. I know I was a troubled kid. I wonder if I  would have been a better son and person if this hadn’t happened to me,’ ” the father said, adding it broke him that his son would ever feel the need to apologize as a victim.

He said his son carried the weight of the abuse with him for more than a decade, while Nylen has shown no remorse.

Despite his conviction in November, Nylen, now 51, maintains his innocence, even as he appeared Monday for his sentencing in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord. A jury found Nylen guilty of one count of felonious sexual assault and two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault for molesting the boy, who worked on the Nylen family farm on Robinson Road farm between 2010 and 2011.

During the two-day trial, jurors heard from several witnesses, including Bow police officers, the 22-year-old victim, his father and another man who previously worked on the farm as a boy.

Back before the court Monday, Nylen asked a judge to consider his lack of a criminal history and suspend any prison sentence. Conversely, a county prosecutor recommended a three- to six-year state prison sentence on the felony charge, noting that Nylen was in a position of authority over the boy and used that to pray on him.

Ultimately, Judge Brian Tucker ruled largely in the prosecution’s favor and sentenced Nylen to three to six years in prison. However, he also gave Nylen the opportunity to reduce his three-year minimum sentence by six months if he completes the sexual offender treatment program and follows through on all recommendations. Tucker also imposed two, concurrent one-year jail sentences on the misdemeanor sexual assault charges; whereas the prosecution had asked for that sentence to be suspended for seven years from Nylen’s prison release date.

As a condition of his sentence, Nylen, a lifelong resident of Bow, must register as a sex offender.

“Child sexual abuse is one of the most serious crimes that a person can commit and it’s important that a sentence take that into account,” Tucker said.

The victim testified during the November trial that he started working on the Nylen family farm in 2010 to earn some cash. However, he said he quickly became uncomfortable around Nylen who made sexually suggestive comments.

Eight years after the abuse, the man first disclosed to his girlfriend by phone during a break up while he was living out of state and she was still in New Hampshire.

He said he was going through a difficult period in his life and was haunted by the memories more than ever. He said he had considered self-harm and wanted to share that with his girlfriend.

After his girlfriend found out, she called the man’s brother, and then the brothers both spoke to their father, who notified authorities.

The ensuing investigation by Bow police led to Nylen’s arrest in summer 2018.

At the time of his crimes, Nylen was employed with the town’s public works department. Records show he had worked for the town for more than a decade.

In court Monday, the victim’s father said his son came to him as a teenager and told him he no longer wanted to work at the farm. His father responded by instilling in him the importance of a strong work ethic, not knowing at the time that his son was being victimized by Nylen.

“I hope you and your wife don’t feel guilty,” Tucker told the father. “You didn’t do anything wrong. There is only one guilty party.”

Nylen chose not to address the court before Tucker handed down his sentence Monday. Within the next 30 days, Nylen can request a panel of three superior court judges to convene and review the imposed sentence.

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