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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rep sorry again for claim gay sex taught in city

CONCORD – Beleaguered state Rep. Nancy Elliott apologized again Wednesday for claiming gay sex was being taught to Nashua fifth-graders.

“A week ago yesterday I made a statement about the Nashua public schools that was wrong. I thought it was true, but I was wrong and that statement was wrong,” Elliott, a Republican, said in a statement. “I now want to apologize to the Nashua public schools and its employees, the people of Nashua, this House and all my constituents for making this wrong and hurtful statement. Please forgive me.”

Earlier, Rep. Jane Clemons, D-Nashua, released a statement that the Nashua delegation was demanding a public apology from Elliott, stating that she was wrong. Her fate, Clemons said, would then be “in the hands of Merrimack voters.”

Neither Clemons, who is the leader of that Democratic delegation, nor Elliott were available for comment Wednesday night.

Last week, Elliott told the House Judiciary Committee that the parent of a Nashua fifth-grade student called and reported students had been shown pictures of naked men and taught how to engage in anal sex.

The committee was holding a hearing on HB 1590, which would repeal the same-sex marriage law.

“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.”

A video of the hearing was posted online and was viewed thousands of times.

Earlier this week, Elliott backed off those statements, apologized to the committee and schools, and said she went back to the source of her information and was unable to “verify fully” the story.

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

Elliott, who is in her third term as a state representative, is president of the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women.

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 on Friday and, as of Wednesday, 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 Wednesday that she appreciated Elliott’s second apology but would still like to understand why she made the statements in the first place.

“I think it’s better. I don’t think she explained why it happened though,” Sheehan said. “I think she owes her constituents and I think she owes Nashua a better explanation.”

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.