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Former NH senate candidate facing sexual assault charge

A former state senate candidate from Loudon has been arrested on charges that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl at his house on his 48th birthday.

Howard Pearl, 48, dropped his bid for Senate District 17 last Wednesday and turned himself in to authorities on the same day. He was released on $10,000 personal recognizance bail and has a Sept. 15 court date in Concord to face the Class A misdemeanor sexual assault-forcible fondling charge. As a condition of the bail, Pearl must stay at least 300 yards away from the alleged victim.

The alleged incident took place at Pearl’s 409 Loudon Ridge Rd. home on Nov. 3, 2013. According to the complaint, Pearl placed his hand inside the underwear of the 15-year-old and fondled her buttocks, conduct that can be “reasonably construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.”

Pearl did not return a request for comment on Monday.

Pearl is a fourth-generation farmer and has owned Pearl & Sons Farm on Loudon Ridge since he was 20. He would have run against incumbent Sen. John Reagan, who defeated Pearl by just 130 votes in the 2012 primary. The district encompasses Allenstown, Chichester, Deerfield, Epsom, Loudon, Northwood, Nottingham, Pembroke, Pittsfield, Raymond and Strafford.

He is very active in local politics and farming. Pearl is a member of the Merrimack County Republican Committee and is a member of the Loudon Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Other positions he holds, according to his state senate biography, are treaurer for the New Hampshire Farm Bureau state board of directors, vice president of the board of directors of the NH chapter of the Speedway Children’s Charities and he’s a member of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association.

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