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October 16, 2013

Derry lawmaker faces sentencing for assault

Convicted of pushing ex-girlfriend's daughter

BRENTWOOD — Rep. Frank Sapareto, R-Derry, will be sentenced this morning for assaulting a young woman during a domestic dispute.

Sapareto, 53, faces up to a year in jail for the simple assault charge following his conviction Thursday by a Rockingham County Superior Court grand jury. His sentencing is set for 10 a.m.

Sapareto, also a former state senator first elected to the House in 1997, was found guilty following a two-day trial. The jury deliberated for about two hours before handing up its verdict to Judge Marguerite Wageling, Rockingham County Attorney James Reams said.

“Frank was obviously disappointed,” his attorney, Anthony DiFruscia, said yesterday. “Frank is exploring the idea of filing an appeal.”

Sapareto was granted a new trial after appealing his previous simple assault conviction in 10th Circuit Court in Derry. He was found guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend’s daughter when she tried to intervene during a dispute.

In April, Judge Robert Stephen gave Sapareto a suspended 30-day jail sentence, fined him $500 and ordered him to receive anger management counseling.

Sapareto has said he was only trying to protect his former girlfriend from her angry adult son during an argument at her Derry home April 11, 2012. He has been free on $1,500 personal recognizance.

He was arrested on two simple assault charges for pushing the son and a third simple assault charge for pushing the daughter when she tried to intervene, DiFruscia said.

The charges against the son were reduced to mutual combat violations that were appealed to the state Supreme Court following his conviction, DiFruscia said. Those are still pending, he said.

He said Derry police investigators have blown the case out of proportion and police lost a 911 tape of the dispute. Police were told Sapareto pushed his way into the home, shouted at the son and acted aggressively toward him, according to Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas. He referred all questions yesterday to the county attorney’s office.

Sapareto has said he intends to get legislation passed this session that would reduce the number of frivolous assault cases heard by the state’s courts.

Sapareto has served Rockingham County House Districts 5 and 6 since he was elected in 2008. He served in the Senate from 2002 to 2004, and in the House from 1997 to 2002.

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