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July 9, 2013

Plaistow lawyer pleads not guilty in sex assault case

PLAISTOW — A local lawyer pleaded not guilty yesterday to giving a 15-year-old boy vodka and sexually assaulting the teen on his boat.

Lawrence Buswell Jr., 52, of 11 Lions Way, Kingston, was arraigned in 10th Circuit Court on three counts of sexual assault and a single charge of providing alcohol to a minor.

Buswell, dressed in a dark suit, did not speak during his arraignment before Judge Sharon DeVries.

He also faces two counts of statutory rape, but was not required to enter pleas yesterday because they are felony charges to be prosecuted in Superior Court. A probable cause hearing on the misdemeanor charges was scheduled for July 18.

Buswell, free on $50,000 personal recognizance, was arrested by Kingston police in May for allegedly assaulting the boy between July 1, 2011, and Aug. 5, 2011. Police had trouble contacting Buswell for months even though he maintains a law office on Main Street in Plaistow.

The boy, now 17, told police last summer that Buswell gave him two shots of vodka and then took him out on Country Pond in his boat and raped him, Kingston police Officer Christopher LaBrecque said in an affidavit. Buswell also forced the boy to perform sexual acts, LaBrecque said.

If convicted, Buswell faces three and a half to seven years in state prison on each of the two rape charges. The three sexual assault charges and the single alcohol charge are misdemeanors, each punishable by up to a year in the county jail.

Buswell has been ordered to stay away from the teen as a condition of his bail. DeVries granted a request yesterday by prosecutor Jill Cook that prohibits Buswell from speaking to anyone under 16.

Neither Buswell nor his attorney, Patrick Devine, would comment after the arraignment.

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