Nottingham legislator accused of drug possession, attempt to lure girl
CANDIA — State leaders are calling for Nottingham state Rep. Kyle Tasker to resign amid allegations he tried to lure a 14-year-old girl for sex and possessed a stash of drugs that he planned to sell.
Tasker, 30, of 87 Smoke St., was arraigned Wednesday in Candia Circuit Court on four felony charges after he was arrested by authorities Tuesday when he allegedly showed up at a location in Nottingham where prosecutors say he planned to meet a girl for a sexual encounter.
He is facing a charge of certain uses of computer services prohibited for allegedly using the social media site Facebook to arrange the meeting with an underage girl with the intent to commit aggravated felonious sexual assault.
Tasker faces three felony drug charges as well accusing him of possessing marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and the drug Suboxone with the intent to sell.
Investigators also seized numerous loaded weapons they found “located strategically throughout the house, behind doors and entry ways into each room.”
Tasker is a third-term Republican lawmaker from Rockingham District 2 and serves on the House Committee on Children and Family Law.
“It makes no difference who they are in life,” Nottingham Police Chief Gunnar Foss said. “They need to be held accountable to the law.”
Judge David LeFrancois ordered Tasker held on $250,000 cash bail.
Prosecutor Stephanie Ilberg-Lamm said the investigation began after Nottingham police were notified on Jan. 16 about an allegation that Tasker had sexually harassed a young female.
Police then began working with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. A law enforcement officer posing as the 14-year-old girl he had allegedly harassed communicated with Tasker online.
They made arrangements to meet on Lucas Pond Road in Nottingham on Tuesday, according to Ilberg-Lamm.
The prosecutor said Tasker drove to the agreed location, where police were waiting.
Officers then executed a search warrant at Tasker’s home, Ilberg-Lamm said, where they found an “enormous amount of controlled substances” that appeared to be part of a distribution operation, Ilberg-Lamm said.
“All of those drugs were stored and they were separated, labeled and packaged for sale,” she said.
Officers from the Greenland, Hampton, Hudson, Manchester, Portsmouth, and Rochester police departments assisted with the investigation along with New Hampshire State Police and the Department of Homeland Security.
While she said Tasker had no prior criminal record, Ilberg-Lamm argued he was a danger and sought the $250,000 cash bail.
Tasker’s attorney, Alan Cronheim, argued the bail amount was excessive and asked that it be set at $10,000.
Cronheim said he plans to dispute the allegations, particularly those regarding solicitation of a minor.
He declined to comment further on the allegations after the arraignment.
Describing the charges as “very serious,” House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, called for Tasker to resign.
He also said he was immediately removing Tasker from the Children and Family Law Committee.
“After a conversation with the Nottingham Police Department, I am calling for Rep. Tasker to resign immediately to focus on his legal problem,” Jasper said. “From the quantity of drugs involved, there is no question in my mind that he does not belong in the House.”
Gov. Maggie Hassan agrees that Tasker should resign.
The governor’s communications director William Hinkle said, “The governor agrees with Speaker Jasper that the allegations are truly reprehensible and the representative should resign.”
State Republican Party Chairman Jennifer Horn also expressed concern over the allegations.
“The charges against Representative Tasker are deeply troubling and disgusting. He is clearly unfit to hold public office and he must resign immediately,” she said.
State House reporter Garry Rayno contributed to this report.