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October 12, 2013

Plaistow detective indicted on assault, threatening charges

Indictments claim he pulled knife and groped woman

PLAISTOW — A longtime Plaistow police detective is on unpaid administrative leave after he was indicted this week on simple assault and criminal threatening charges.

George Wickson, 40, of Plaistow faces five charges in connection with an off-duty incident May 25 in Newton when he threatened a man with a knife and grabbed a woman by her buttocks and hair, according to the indictments.

Wickson also tried to kiss the same woman and threw a beer at another woman, the indictments said.

The indictments on three simple assault and two criminal threatening charges were handed up by a grand jury in Rockingham Superior Court. Wickson is scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court on Oct. 24 and has not been arrested.

The police department issued a brief statement about Wickson’s case, saying it was conducting an internal investigation and that an indictment is not a finding of guilt. The case is being investigated by New Hampshire State Police.

Plaistow police officials declined to comment and referred all questions to the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, which is also handling the case to avoid a potential conflict of interest. Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance could not be reached yesterday for comment.

But Plaistow Town Manager Sean Fitzgerald said the allegations against Wickson are disturbing.

He said Wickson is a 13-year member of the department with a clean record.

“It is very, very troubling,” Fitzgerald said yesterday. “The town of Plaistow takes these charges very seriously, but I just want to remind people that an indictment is not a finding of guilty.”

Fitzgerald said Wickson is a valued member of the police force with a strong track record, but that does not excuse any misconduct.

“He has been involved in some very commendable examples of police work,” he said.

Fitzgerald said Wickson was immediately placed on paid administrative leave when he learned of the allegations against the detective in late June.

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