Fourth man charged in connection with threats and vandalism targeting two New Hampshire journalists
Sep 8, 2023, 1:24 PM
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A fourth man has been charged in connection with threats and vandalism targeting public radio journalists in New Hampshire.
Eric Labarge, 46, of Nashua, was arrested Friday, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts. He and three others who were previously arrested have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel.
Prosecutors allege the men were involved in a plot to vandalize homes associated with New Hampshire Public Radio reporter Lauren Chooljian and news director Daniel Barrick in retaliation for a report detailing sexual misconduct allegations against a prominent businessman.
In six incidents in April and May 2022, the journalists’ homes and the home of the reporter’s parents were hit with bricks, rocks and red spray paint. In one incident, a brick was thrown through a window at Chooljian’s home, and the phrase “JUST THE BEGINNING!” was spray-painted on the front of her home.
The vandalism came after NHPR published an investigation into Eric Spofford, the founder of the state’s largest network of addiction rehabilitation centers. Spofford, who is suing the radio station, has denied the sexual misconduct allegations and said he had nothing to do with the vandalism.
Federal prosecutors, however, describe Labarge as “close, personal associate” of Spofford’s who solicited one of the other men to carry out the plot.
Neither Labarge’s attorney nor a lawyer representing co-defendant Keenan Saniatan, 36, of Nashua, responded to requests for comment Friday. Attorneys representing Tucker Cockerline, 32, of Salem, New Hampshire, and Michael Waselchuck, 35, of Seabrook, declined to comment.