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Investigation Sought After Former Deputy Charged in New Hampshire

Ernest Justin Blanchette
Strafford County Jail

Belknap County commissioners have requested that a private investigation be conducted into the events that led to a former deputy sheriff's arrest on sexual assault charges involving inmates in his custody.

Ernest Justin Blanchette was indicted last month on counts involving five inmates he allegedly assaulted while transporting them between correctional facilities. He's charged with nine counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of felonious sexual assault.

New Hampshire's The Laconia Citizen reports Commissioner Hunter Taylor said Wednesday he spoke with Sheriff Craig Wiggin, who recommended to the commissioners that they seek an agency for an investigation. He asked that the county administrator speak with two agencies for details.

The 36-year-old Blanchette is out on bail. His lawyer said he and his client were taken by surprise by the charges.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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