EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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January 3, 2014

Reams denied immediate reinstatement

Another hearing set for Jan. 21

CONCORD — A judge has rejected suspended Rockingham County Attorney James Reams’ request for immediate reinstatement as the Attorney General’s Office continues to investigate his conduct.

In his 16-page decision, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Richard McNamara agrees with the Attorney General’s Office’s contention it needs more time to thoroughly investigate allegations against Reams.

“It is simply a matter of fact that criminal investigations, properly conducted, may require substantial time, to ensure that the guilty are charged and the innocent are not,” McNamara ruled.

Reams was suspended by Rockingham County commissioners in November amid allegations of “management and operational issues” within the office. Attorney General Joseph Foster revoked Reams’ authority as a prosecutor.

Later, allegations of sexual harassment and improper diversion of county funds found Reams and attorney Michael Ramsdell defending the reputation of the 15-year county attorney.

“I can tell you I didn’t touch any woman sexually in that office or any other place,” Reams said. “I think there are agendas at work here. It’s clearly to make me unelectable.”

Reams, Deputy County Attorney Thomas Reid and a third unidentified employee were placed on paid administrative leave Nov. 6 while state and federal authorities, including the FBI, conducted their investigation. Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti is serving as interim county attorney in Reams’ absence.

The allegations against the eight-term county attorney include calling a woman in his office “babe, and that some female employees believe he “enjoys when they wear high heels,” Reams said in court documents.

Reams was also accused of touching an assistant county attorney after informing her a button on her blouse had come undone, showing her bra and cleavage. At another time, he allegedly touched her on the thigh.

While Reams and Ramsdell claimed these and other alleged inappropriate incidents did not occur, the county attorney did confirm another allegation.

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