October 02. 2017 8:28PM

Prosecutors offer plea deal to Hudson legislator charged in teen assault

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent


ERIC SCHLEIEN 

BRENTWOOD — Prosecutors have offered a plea deal to Hudson state Rep. Eric Schleien, who faces a court date later this month in his criminal case involving allegations he sexually assaulted a teenage girl.

According to court paperwork, a plea offer was recently made to Schleien, but his defense attorney has not yet responded because he’s awaiting additional documents in the case.

The two-term Republican representative for Hudson and Pelham is charged with one count of sexual assault and two counts of simple assault.

Schleien, 29, of 26 Pine Road, Apt. A, has previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, all of which are misdemeanors and punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine if he is convicted on each.

Schleien was charged earlier this year following an investigation that began after the alleged 16-year-old victim told police she was assaulted by Schleien last year in Portsmouth.

According to a police affidavit, the girl told authorities she met Schleien at an Exeter cafe in July 2016 and they discussed politics and her interest in a political career.

The teen said they met up again and their conversation became sexually explicit. She alleges she was then sexually assaulted in his car.

A dispositional conference in the case is scheduled for Oct. 31.

Meanwhile, Schleien has hired Manchester defense attorney Phil Utter to represent him.

His former attorney, Seth Hipple of Concord, informed the court on Sept. 20 that he was withdrawing from the case. His notice offered no explanation for the withdrawal.

Hipple could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Utter declined to comment on whether both sides were negotiating a plea deal in the case. Paperwork in Schleien’s file indicated that a plea hearing was scheduled, but Utter and court officials said that was not the case. Details of the plea offer made by the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office were not included in the court paperwork that’s available for public viewing.

Schleien is scheduled to be on trial in April.

jschreiber@newstote.com