Ex-Bristol police chief facing felonies for theft by deception given time to negotiate settlementBy BEA LEWIS
Union Leader Correspondent
October 10. 2018 9:30PM
NORTH HAVERHILL — Michael Lewis, the former police chief in Bristol facing criminal charges, is considering the prospects of a plea deal, court records show.
Lewis, 38, of Ashland, who resigned from law enforcement last October, is accused of three felony counts of theft by deception for allegedly forging timecards as well as a misdemeanor for either sexual assault or simple assault.
The theft by deception indictments handed up on June 15 allege Lewis exercised unauthorized control over more than $4,500 in town funds by knowingly claiming he worked overtime details that he had not.
The sexual assault charge alleges that on Aug. 31, 2017, Lewis came up behind a 30-year-old woman and placed his hands on her buttocks.
The complaint further alleges that Lewis’ conduct could reasonably be construed as for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.
The simple assault charge is an alternative interpretation of the same incident, instead characterizing it as unprivileged physical contact. Both crimes are alleged to have occurred in Bristol.
Scheduled for a dispositional conference in Grafton County Superior Court on Tuesday, prosecutor Antonia J. Barry filed a motion seeking a continuance, disclosing that Hillsborough County Assistant Attorney Nicole Schultz-Price has been assigned to work on the case and that as a result of miscommunication from the Grafton County Attorney’s Office was under the mistaken belief that her role was to consult, not act as co-counsel.
Schultz-Price is preparing for a lengthy trial in her home county in October and will be unavailable for Lewis’ trial, which had been scheduled to begin early next month, Barry wrote.
Barry’s motion notes that the state and the defense have agreed to pursue a felony settlement conference in the case and asks that a continuance be granted as it would allow time for negotiations to occur.
Lewis, who is represented by attorney Eric Wilson of Nashua, has pleaded not guilty and waived formal arraignment. He remains free on $10,000 personal recognizance bail on the condition he have no contact with his alleged victim, reside at his Ashland home, sign a waiver of extradition, possess no firearms or weapons, and not take any controlled drugs or drink alcohol to excess.
Bristol selectmen placed Lewis on administrative leave on Sept. 5, 2017, for undisclosed reasons and he resigned 29 days later.