OSSIPEE — The Carroll County Attorney's Office on Wednesday set aside, or "nol prossed" in court terms, child pornography possession charges against a retired newspaper editor.
Carroll County Attorney Robin Gordon confirmed that eight counts of felony child pornography possession charges against Edward Domaingue, 65, of Ormond Beach, Fla., who owns a summer home in Wakefield, have been set aside, but stressed that the charges may be reinstated following additional investigation.
"The charges were nol prossed — they are not going away. We need further investigation and decided the trial track was coming up too fast," said Gordon.
Domaingue's case had been scheduled for a morning pre-trial conference in Carroll County Superior Court on Wednesday, but that hearing was canceled. Gordon said the charges have not been dismissed, an action required by a judge.
"Essentially, the investigation is ongoing," she said. "There was more work we needed to do on the case and we would have been jammed." She said no plea agreement was considered.
Domaingue and his attorney, David Ruoff of Howard & Ruoff law firm in Manchester, released a written statement on Wednesday.
"All charges against my client, Edward C. Domaingue II of Wakefield, NH, and Ormond Beach, Fla., have been dropped by the Carroll County Attorney's Office.
Domaingue, who retired from the New Hampshire Union Leader several years ago, issued the following statement: "This 14-month, 425-day legal nightmare has been nothing short of devastating for all five members of our immediate family. While the decision to drop all charges supports my steadfast claim that I did not commit any of the crimes I was so publicly accused of, the resulting damage to every member of our family cannot be ignored.
"I'd like to publicly thank my wife, my children, my attorney and those people who reached out to us in friendship during this horrible ordeal. The strength of their support helped get us through this nightmare. I maintained from the very first moments that I did not commit any crime. The fact that these charges were dropped, a mere three weeks before we were set to go to trial, supports that position. However, that does not mitigate the mental, physical, emotional and financial toll imposed on me and on my family. We will continue to explore all of our legal options."
Ruoff added, "My client, Mr. Domaingue, has indicated he will have nothing further to say regarding this case at this time."
A Carroll County grand jury handed up the felony-level indictments on May 17 alleging that on or about Sept. 4, 2012, Domaingue committed the crime of possession of child sexual abuse images. The images listed in the indictments are two computer video files and six photographic files of young girls under the age of 18 engaged in sexual activities. The charges are all Class A level felonies punishable by a jail term of seven and one half to 15 years.
Domaingue was arrested in Wakefield on March 15 by the Wakefield Police Department after he turned himself in without incident. At the time Wakefield Police Department officials said they teamed up with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in August of 2012 after receiving information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that Domaingue allegedly possessed child pornography on his computer. Search warrants in the case have been sealed.