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LAUGHTON 

NH's first transgender lawmaker arrested for hospital bomb threat


NASHUA -- Stacie Laughton, the state's first openly transgender legislator, was arrested Thursday by Nashua police after saying she is the person responsible for calling in a hoax bomb threat at a local hospital.

Laughton, who was elected to the House of Representatives and then withdrew her candidacy days later, turned herself in on Thursay on a warrant for the Feb. 27 incident after spending two weeks receiving treatment at a Vermont hospital for bipolar disorder.

Police charged her with a felony count of falsely reporting an explosive.

“I have had a mental illness my whole life, and I guess this was my worst break with it. I was untreated for a long time, and I didn't have medication,” Laughton told the New Hampshire Union Leader, adding she is very remorseful for her actions.

Laughton said she was not in the right frame of mind when she called in a bomb threat to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center around 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 27. Laughton, who also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, described feelings of extreme impulsivity when she made the phone call.

“I wasn't trying to hurt anyone, and it was totally out of character for me. I have put a lot behind me, and I never thought I would do this in a million years,” she said.

Laughton is expected to be charged with a felony for calling in a fake bomb threat, which prompted a systematic search of the hospital by local authorities and hospital security.

She fully admitted her involvement to police, who opted not to formally charge her until her stay at the Brattleboro Retreat, a mental health and addiction treatment facility in Vermont, was complete. Laughton maintains that she was not under the influence of anything at the time of the incident, says she is cooperating with police and is grateful that they allowed her to seek medical assistance before her arrest.

In 2012, Laughton was elected as one of three House members for Ward 4 in Nashua. However, after news surfaced about her previous life as a convicted felon under the name of Barry C. Laughton Jr. in Laconia, Laughton signed her letter of resignation and the Board of Aldermen sought a special election to fill the vacant position.

A few months later, her position as a Nashua Ward 4 selectman -- an elected role that she won during the 2011 municipal election -- was nullified after an opinion from the state Attorney General's Office determined that her previous criminal conviction was not finally discharged under the law because of nearly $2,000 in unpaid restitution.

In 2008, under the name of Barry Laughton, she pleaded guilty to charges of fraudulent use of a credit card, conspiracy to commit identity fraud and falsifying physical evidence, which required restitution.

“I never thought I would see the inside of a police station again,” Laughton said on Thursday before turning herself in. “I am extremely remorseful. I have been crying frequently, and I wish I had never done it.”

Laughton says she has support from her parents, her pastor and others. She is hopeful to be released on personal recognizance bail so that she will be able to continue seeing her medical provider, follow after-care instructions and attend support group .

khoughton@newstote.com
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