CLAREMONT — A past felony conviction was not picked up in the state-required background check for a Stevens High School math teacher arrested on charges related to his alleged relationship with a 14-year-old student.
Christopher LeBlanc, 29, of Claremont was hired last year. On March 21, he was arrested and charged with several counts of felonious sexual assault after a two-day investigation by police and the school administration. He has since been fired.
According to court records, LeBlanc pleaded guilty in 2006 to one count of conspiracy to transmit stolen goods in interstate commerce.
He was arrested in 2005, the federal complaint says, for stealing items such as night vision goggles and lasers — primarily for use by military and law enforcement personnel — from his part-time security guard job at Insight Technology in Londonderry.
He passed the goods to an accomplice who sold the items online, and arranged for some of the items “sold to be delivered in interstate commerce,” court records state.
LeBlanc pleaded guilty and was fined $100.
In an email to Claremont School Board members Monday night, SAU 6 Superintendent Middletown McGoodwin said he had just learned LeBlanc “committed a federal crime several years ago” that had not shown up in his criminal background check.
Chief administrator of the state police criminal records unit Jeff Kellett, whose department handles criminal background checks for schools hiring staff or bringing on volunteers, said Tuesday he could not speak specifically to LeBlanc’s case.
But he said that the state and federal criminal history passed onto schools has a narrow focus.
He said according to state law, only murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, child pornography, child abuse or any other crimes having to do with children are reported to the schools.
“As a result, Mr. LeBlanc’s district court felony was not picked up by this check process,” McGoodwin told school board members. “The SAU No. 6 did everything correctly, as did the New Hampshire State Police. However, because Mr. LeBlanc falsified his application by checking ‘no’ to the question ‘Have you ever been convicted of a felony?’ everyone was unaware.”
Kellett said an SAU or school district can request to be notified of all felonies.
If any are reported to an SAU or school district that do not fall under the state statue, it is up to school officials to decide whether to hire the person or allow them to volunteer.
“A felony could be issuing a bad check that wouldn’t necessarily rise to the level of not hiring someone at the school setting,” Kellett said.
In the 5th Circuit Court District Division in Newport Tuesday afternoon, LeBlanc waived his right to a probable cause hearing on four counts of felonious sexual assault.
LeBlanc’s attorney did argue for reduced bail, which prosecutor Sullivan County Attorney Marc Hathaway said Tuesday he opposed.
In the end, the judge reduced LeBlanc’s bail from $250,000 cash-only to $150,000 cash-only.
He has been held in the Sullivan County House of Corrections since his arrest.
The case is now bound over to Sullivan County Superior Court.