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Wolfeboro man charged with sex assault of roommate's child

Special to the Union Leader

April 17. 2013 10:35PM

OSSIPEE - The case against a former Wolfeboro man charged with sexually assaulting his ex-housemate's child will be bound over to Carroll County Superior Court after Justice Robert Varney deemed that prosecutors met the burden of probable cause.

The defendant, Joseph Grinnell, 33, was charged with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault involving a child under age 14, but police indicated that additional charges might be filed. Since the offense is a felony level crime, the case will be presented to a Carroll County Superior Court grand jury for possible indictment.

During the probable cause hearing held Wednesday in 3rd Circuit District Court in Ossipee, Wolfeboro Police Department Sgt. Christopher Keaton testified how the child, and the child's father and mother reported the alleged crime to police on March 27. The father told police when he brought his child to the hospital for a minor medical procedure, medical personnel took a routine urine test. The test revealed that the child was pregnant. The child lives with her father in Maine most of the time but spends weekends with her mother in Wolfeboro. According to testimony presented, Grinnell was a friend of the mother's who moved in with her to help with the bills.

Wolfeboro Police Department Prosecutor Tim Morgan also called Wolfeboro Detective Guy Maloney to the stand. Maloney testified that the child told him that a sexual relationship with Grinnell began in August 2012 and that resulted in the pregnancy. Under questioning by defense attorney Steve Mirkin, Maloney said police obtained DNA evidence that was sent to the state lab for testing, but as of Wednesday, police had not received the results of that testing. The pregnancy was terminated shortly after the child and her parents filed the assault charge.

In further questioning, Mirkin asked if police had investigated the child's whereabouts during the approximate time of conception and Maloney replied he had not.

In further questioning, Maloney said Grinnell acknowledged that he had sexual relations with the child and that the statement she gave during an interview with police and the Child Advocacy Center personnel was accurate. Maloney said police also obtained through a search warrant, Grinnell's cellular phone, and a letter from the child to Grinnell.

Mirken argued that the state has not met the burden of probable cause for a charge of aggravated felonious sexual assault, but the judge disagreed.

Varney found the state has sufficient probable cause.

Mirken asked the court to reduce bail to $2,500.

Morgan said Grinnell was being accused of a "heinous" crime with a substantial penalty and considering his prior criminal history, should be considered an extreme flight risk. Morgan said Grinnell had previously been deemed a fugitive from justice for burglary and felony theft crimes in Texas and Tennessee.

"He has plenty of reason to leave the jurisdiction," Morgan said. Varney agreed and denied the motion to reduce bail.

Aggravated felonious sexual assault carries a 10- to 20-year state prison sentence.

The Portland, Maine, Police Department, Wakefield Police Department, and the Carroll County Child Advocacy Center in Wolfeboro assisted in the investigation.


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