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Merrimack legislator Nancy Elliot, center, talks during a hearing in Concord on HB1590, which would repeal the law legalizing same-sex marriage.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rep. apologizes for sex accusations

CONCORD – State Rep. Nancy Elliott, R-Merrimack, apologized Tuesday and withdrew her claim that gay sex was being taught to fifth graders in Nashua public schools.

“I would like to apologize to the Judiciary Committee, the Nashua public schools and its employees and the speaker as well as anyone else affected by what I said,’’ Elliott said, reading from a prepared statement at the beginning of a House Judiciary Committee meeting. “I will try much harder in the future to verify fully my statement.”

Despite the apology, Elliott maintained she believed what she said was true at the time.

Elliott’s comments were made during a Judiciary Committee hearing last week for a bill, HB1590, that would repeal same-sex marriage. She said she had been told by a parent that fifth graders in Nashua had been shown pictures of naked men and taught how to engage in anal sex.

“Because we have made a marriage of same sex, they are now teaching it in public school. They are showing our fifth-graders how they can actually perform this kind of sex,” Elliott said last week.

“And they are condoning, they are saying this is normal and this is something that you may want to try,” she added.

Nashua school officials have insisted her charge was false. On Tuesday, Elliott said she went back to her source of the statement to verify the information.

“I found that I could not confirm the accuracy of the information,” she said.

Elliott, who is president of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women, insisted that she would not have made the statement if she didn’t believe it were true.

“I was told shortly before the hearing on HB 1590 that what I later said had happened, and I firmly believed it to be so,” she said.

“It is for that reason and because of its relevance that I brought it up to the committee.”

Nashua Superintendent Mark Conrad said Elliott never called a specific school or the school district to report the incident, and there was no evidence the incident ever happened.

Conrad said he left a message for Elliott Friday and, as of Tuesday, had not received a call back.

Elliott has not returned multiple phone calls from The Telegraph and was not available to be interviewed at the committee meeting Tuesday.

Over the weekend, Ward 3 Alderman Diane Sheehan said she would seek for Elliott to be removed from office unless she either recanted her statement or provided evidence to support it.

Sheehan said Tuesday that Elliott’s statement still didn’t answer the question about why she didn’t report the call to police or the school district.

“She left herself a lot of wiggle room,” Sheehan said. “I still think that something needs to be done further.”

Sheehan said she received significant public support in asking Elliott to explain herself.

Sheehan said that while it is positive that Elliott apologized, there should be a review at the state level about whether she was being ethical in putting forth the claim in a public setting without first having made an attempt to substantiate it.

“She’s claiming she’s concerned about kids and yet she has done nothing,” Sheehan said.

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashua telegraph.com.