Salem man admits guilt in photographing young girls at Canobie Lake Park
BRENTWOOD — A Salem man pleaded guilty to charges that he photographed young girls riding a water slide at Canobie Lake Park last summer until he was confronted by park security.
David Lantagne, 47, entered his plea to three charges on Wednesday in Rockingham County Superior Court as part of a deal he struck with county prosecutors.
Each of the charges — attempted possession of child sexual abuse images — are Class A felonies punishable by up to 7 ½ to 15 years in state prison and a $4,000 fine.
The deal came after Lantagne lost a bid to have major evidence in his case thrown out. Prosecutors will ask for a 4- to 8-year state prison sentence when Lantagne appears next before Judge Marguerite Wageling.
Defense lawyer John Macoul will have the right to argue for any sentence, including suspended or deferred jail time along with a battery of court-ordered treatment.
Lantagne will also be allowed to appeal Wageling's refusal to bar evidence in the case to the state Supreme Court.
Wageling quizzed Lantagne about his waiving his right to trial and sentence review before accepting the guilty plea.
Steven McPherson, head of security at the Canobie Lake Park, spotted Lantagne taking photos of young girls with his cell phone around the Castaway Island play complex on July 6.
McPherson, a part-time police officer, called another Salem police officer on duty at the park, and took the cell phone from Lantagne, according to court testimony.
McPherson then handed the phone over to the police officer. Macoul protested that his client never consented to the seizure of the phone and that any evidence or statements collected afterward violated Lantagne's constitutional rights.
Lantagne was allowed to remain free on bail pending sentencing. Lawyers expect the sentencing to happen sometime in January.
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James A. Kimble may be reached at JKimble@newstote.com.
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