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Former N.H. lawmaker sentenced to 3-10 years for drugs and sex solicitation 

  • Former New Hampshire state Rep. Kyle Tasker, arrested the previous day and charged with driving while intoxicated, is shown in a Nov. 2, 2016 booking photo. The former lawmaker pleaded guilty Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Rochester, to charges of drug possession and trying to lure a 14-year-old girl over Facebook into a sexual encounter. Monitor file

  • Former Nottingham state representative Kyle Tasker (in orange) arrives for a plea and sentencing hearing at Rockingham County Superior Court. Tasker pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and four counts of using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Former Nottingham state representative Kyle Tasker (in orange) arrives for a plea and sentencing hearing at Rockingham County Superior Court on Tuesday. Tasker pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and four counts of using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • Former Nottingham state representative Kyle Tasker (in orange) arrives for a plea and sentencing hearing at Rockingham County Superior Court. Tasker pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and four counts of using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Former Nottingham state representative Kyle Tasker (in orange) arrives for a plea and sentencing hearing at Rockingham County Superior Court. Tasker pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and four counts of using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Former Nottingham state representative Kyle Tasker (in orange) arrives for a plea and sentencing hearing at Rockingham County Superior Court. Tasker pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and four counts of using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A former Nottingham state representative received three to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to felony charges of drug possession and soliciting sex from a 14-year-old.

Kyle Tasker pleaded guilty to nine felonies, including four counts of using a computer to lure a minor for sex and five counts of possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, in Rockingham County Superior Court.

Two charges of drug possession and a charge of felonious possession of a firearm were dropped as a result of the plea agreement. Tasker can also request that his sentence be shortened by six months if he completes a sex offender program in prison.

Tasker’s case had been scheduled for trial this month.

The former Republican lawmaker was first arrested on a felony solicitation charge alleging he tried to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter in Northwood.

According to prosecutor Patricia LaFrance, the teenager met Tasker during a community breakfast in September 2015 and Tasker added her on Facebook shortly after.

In January 2016, the teen told her mother she had been receiving messages from Tasker offering to provide her with drugs and alcohol, proposing a three-way sexual encounter; and, when he learned she was 14, telling her, “Girls like you could really get me in trouble.”

The teenager had erased the messages and they could not be retrieved, LaFrance said.

After receiving the report of Tasker’s messages, a Nottingham police officer took over the teen’s Facebook account and exchanged a series of messages until March 2016, when the officer, posing as the victim, arranged for to meet Tasker at a local beach. Police then arrested Tasker, seizing his phone and a semi-automatic handgun in his vehicle’s glove compartment.

Police executed a search of Tasker’s home, where they found “vast amounts” of drugs, including marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and ecstasy, as well as several weapons and cases of bullets.

An attorney general’s report released last year said Tasker used marijuana at the State House and sold the drug to other legislators as part of his drug distribution business.

However, the attorney general’s office found no evidence of “pervasive illicit drug transactions at the State House or among elected officials” and did not charge any other legislators with drug crimes.

Judge Andrew Schulman, who presided over the case, noted the situation could have gone much worse for both Tasker and the victim, likening Tasker’s crime to being pulled over for driving while intoxicated rather than hitting a van full of children.

The former state representative has been serving a jail sentence since late last year, after his bail was revoked when he was arrested for driving under the influence in November.

Schulman also noted Tasker’s arrest stemmed from an actual victim, rather than a police officer going undercover in an attempt to catch a potential sex offender.

“It leaves me wondering where all of this was going to end,” he said. “I don’t think it was going to end in a good place for anybody.”

“Maybe from your point of view, it’s good that you got stopped the way you did,” Schulman said, referring to Tasker.

LaFrance, however, saw merit only in the victim’s courage to come forward to report Tasker’s online advances.

“This wasn’t just an online conversation. ... There was an intent to meet, to turn this into something illegal,” she said. “Thank goodness this little girl was so brave in bringing this to our attention, the police’s attention.”

She then added: “You hear all the time about children becoming victims because they don’t trust the adults in their lives to tell them about something like this. ... If she hadn’t trusted them, this man would be a predator.”

Tasker, who was serving his third two-year term at the time of his arrest, had previously served on the Children and Family Law Committee and before that was a member of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. He resigned from the Legislature in March 2016 following his arrest.

Eight of the charges in the plea agreement carry immediate state prison sentences, which will be served concurrently.

The final charge carries a suspended seven- to 15-year sentence and a $10,000 fine. The suspension period lasts 10 years after Tasker is released from prison for the other eight charges. Suspension of the sentence is dependent upon good behavior.

As a condition of his plea agreement, Tasker must register as a sex offender for life and is barred from contacting the teen or her family, as well as from making any contact with anyone under age 16 without supervision.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)