EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 18, 2014

Anderson lewdness trial moves forward

Judge denies request to dismiss case

By Doug Ireland

---- — DERRY — A judge has rejected the former Derry administrator’s request that she drop indecent exposure charges against him.

Judge Lucinda Sadler ruled that John Anderson, who admits exposing himself to a satellite TV salesman last summer, will continue to be tried on the two misdemeanor charges in 10th Circuit Court in Derry. He could face up to a year in jail on each charge.

Anderson’s contract with the town was not renewed in October after the Town Council voted in July to suspend the three-year Derry administrator after police reported that he exposed himself.

Anderson and his attorney, James Rosenberg, appeared in Circuit Court on March 7 to ask that the charges against him be dismissed. He was to go on trial that day, but it has been postponed indefinitely.

Anderson, 50, sat silently in the courtroom as Rosenberg told Sadler that her client had a right to be naked in his own home. Rosenberg also denied prosecutor Kirsten Wilson’s allegations that Anderson masturbated in front of the salesman.

The two attorneys debated whether Anderson could be found guilty under state law of engaging in “conduct which ‘he or she knows will likely cause affront or alarm.’”

The incident occurred one evening in July after the salesman knocked on the door of Anderson’s Lane Road home and no one answered. Anderson then opened the door motioned for Anderson to come inside.

The salesman stepped inside and was surprised to find Anderson naked, Wilson said. Anderson asked the unidentified salesman to remove his own clothes, saying it was a “nudist household,” according to a police affidavit. The salesman did not comply, the affidavit said.

The unidentified salesman continued his sales pitch and left several minutes later after giving Anderson his phone number and a brochure.

Rosenberg contended that if the salesmen were “alarmed,” he would have immediately left the home. The attorney also called the state’s indecent exposure law “vague” and “overbroad.”

The judge disagreed in her ruling, handed down Friday.

“The court finds John cannot invite someone into his home, an otherwise stranger, and then seek the protection of the privacy argument by stating the conduct must be public in order to be criminal,” Sadler wrote.

Neither Wilson nor Rosenberg had been notified of the ruling as of yesterday afternoon.

“I am pleased the court ruled in our favor, but unable to comment further until I review the judge’s order,” Wilson said.

Rosenberg also said he couldn’t comment on specifics of the ruling until he received the decision. He did say he was prepared to defend his client.

“We look forward to a trial in the case,” Rosenberg said.

The two attorneys are scheduled to meet with Sadler on April 11 to discuss Anderson’s trial.

Anderson has been free on $2,000 personal recognizance and refuses to comment on the allegations against him. He had been town administrator since October 2010 and earned $124,962 in his final year.

Anderson received more than $40,000 in severance pay from the town and had been on paid leave for five weeks until he was placed on unpaid leave Aug. 20. He was previously town administrator in Boothbay, Maine, for 10 years.