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Assault case against Danville selectman heads to superior court

DANVILLE - The case against a Danville selectman accused of assaulting a teenager at a town movie night last August has been moved to Rockingham County Superior Court for a possible jury trial.

Russell Harding, 35, was expected to face trial Thursday before a judge in the 10th Circuit Court, Plaistow District Division, on two counts of simple assault, but prosecutors dropped the charges last week and re-filed them at the superior court level, according to defense attorney Raymond Mello.

The charges allege Harding grabbed a 13-year-old boy by the back of the neck and forced his head into a table.

Harding has denied the allegations, claiming that he approached the boy because he thought he was going to tamper with the town equipment used for showing movies at the movie night at Day Field.

At a selectmen’s meeting in September, Harding told fellow board members that he put himself in between the teenager and the movie equipment and that when he did so he “touched” the boy. However, he denied assaulting him.

Mello said Harding plans to plead not guilty to the assault charges – both class A misdemeanors.

Harding has been absent from selectmen's meetings since he was arrested in September by state police. He refused to resign from the board and asked for a leave of absence until the case is resolved.

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