CLAREMONT — Former Claremont Police Officer Mark Burch, 32, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he faked evidence, along with former officer Ian Kibbe, in a criminal case.
Burch entered into a plea agreement Thursday in Sullivan Superior Court in Newport, pleading guilty to one count of unsworn falsification, a class A misdemeanor.
Kibbe reportedly lied about seeing weapons in the bedroom of convicted felon Christopher Ratcliffe during a February 2018 arrest in Claremont. Kibbe was in Ratcliffe’s apartment with Burch and New Hampshire State Trooper Eric Fosterling to serve an arrest warrant on Ratcliffe.
Kibbe and Burch lied at the scene, telling Fosterling that a baton, a Glock pistol and a rifle were among the weapons in plain sight in Ratcliffe’s bedroom, according to testimony brought out in court. Instead, the weapons were inside closed bags when the officers first arrested Ratcliffe.
Kibbe wrote in his report, and the subsequent affidavit, that the weapons were in plain sight and he signed the affidavit to support the arrest, according to testimony.
Burch took the affidavit to a justice of the peace in Charlestown who did not require the signing officer, Kibbe, to swear the to truth of the affidavit, according to testimony.
Burch stepped down from the department after Fosterling reported his concerns about the arrest to officials.
Burch is avoiding jail time as part of his plea, as the negotiated sentence calls for a year in jail, but that sentence is suspended for two years on the condition of good behavior. Burch is also required to complete 100 hours of community service within the next six months. Burch also agreed not to seek work in New Hampshire law enforcement.
Kibbe was sentenced to a year in jail in January with all but 90 days suspended when he pleaded guilty to one count of unsworn falsification and one count of obstructing government administration. He has also agreed to not work in law enforcement once he is released from jail.
More than 30 criminal cases were dropped by Claremont Police and the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office as a result of Kibbe and Burch’s actions.