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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nashua man back in jail accused of violating sentence in sexual assault case

NASHUA – A Nashua man who avoided prison by accepting a plea deal in a sexual assault case last month is back in jail and may be heading to prison after all after allegedly violating the terms of his sentence.

Ryan Howe, 47, was back at Hillsborough County Superior Court on Monday, and Judge Jacalyn Colburn set his bail at $500 cash only until a hearing can be held to determine if he was in contact with the woman he admitted to assaulting in Mine Falls Park last October. ...

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NASHUA – A Nashua man who avoided prison by accepting a plea deal in a sexual assault case last month is back in jail and may be heading to prison after all after allegedly violating the terms of his sentence.

Ryan Howe, 47, was back at Hillsborough County Superior Court on Monday, and Judge Jacalyn Colburn set his bail at $500 cash only until a hearing can be held to determine if he was in contact with the woman he admitted to assaulting in Mine Falls Park last October.

Howe pleaded guilty last month to one count each of domestic violence: second-degree assault; domestic violence: criminal restraint; and obstructing the report of a crime or injury and received a two- to four-year deferred prison sentence, according to court records.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Michele Battaglia dropped four aggravated felonious sexual assault charges as part of the deal, according to court documents.

Howe spent 206 days in jail awaiting trial and, on Monday, Battaglia said police found him in the company of the woman he was accused of assaulting less than a day after being released from jail. Part of the terms of Howe’s sentence is that he have no contact with the victim.

“I’m frustrated judge. I don’t know how to keep this victim from Mr. Howe,” Battaglia said. “This defendant should be held because there’s no other way to keep her safe.”

Colburn had issued a warrant for Howe’s arrest when he didn’t appear for a hearing to impose the deferred sentence May 21. Police hadn’t served that warrant before Monday’s hearing.

Howe’s defense attorney, public defender Julian Jefferson, said Howe should remain free because he never got notice of the May 21 hearing but now has a cellphone, as well as a steady job and place to live.

Colburn said it was clear to her that Howe didn’t take the terms she set in his sentence to heart despite having spent more than 200 days in jail.

“It doesn’t seem to me in any way that you’re taking the sentence seriously,” she said.

Another hearing will be held before Colburn to determine what, if any, of the deferred prison sentence will be imposed.

Nashua police arrested Howe on Oct. 14, 10 days after being called to
a wooded area off
North Second Street near an entrance to Mine Falls Park.

A man said he had seen a man and woman enter the park that morning with a mattress.

He and a neighbor had gone into the woods to ask the people to leave when they heard a woman scream, “I’ve been raped for hours,” according to court records.

The woman told police Howe knocked her down multiple times, held her down and choked her, and sexually assaulted her multiple times while she alternately tried to fight him and run away and tried to reason with him, a detective testified at Howe’s probable cause hearing in October.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).