New Hampshire Democrat representative Stacie Laughton, the state’s first openly transgender public official, was arrested earlier this month for allegedly violating a domestic violence order by stalking an unidentified woman.
Laughton — originally born Barry Charles Laughton Jr. — was arrested on November 12 after violating a protective order by allegedly trying to contact the victim through social media — days after securing re-election in the 2022 Midterms, Reduxx reported.
Hudson Police Department said authorities arrested the 38-year-old trans representative in September for violating the same order, but he was released shortly after.
Laughton did not provide comments to media outlets.
House Democrat Rep. Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham) defended Laughton on Twitter.
“She’s gotten into a lot of trouble over the years & she keeps getting into trouble, but she’s basically a good person,” Horrigan tweeted. “She’s not violent or abusive, or harmful to anyone other than herself.”
GOP state Rep. Kim Rice replied to the Horrigan’s stance, saying Laughton “needs some help.”
“I don’t think the person she was stalking would feel the same way,” Rice said. “I am thinking that person would definitely think they were harmed. I’m shocked sitting on the [House] Judiciary Committee you would even say this.”
I’m sorry Tim she needs some help! I don’t think the person she was stalking would feel the same way. I am thinking that person would definitely think they were harmed. I’m shocked sitting on the judiciary committee you would even say this
— kimberly a rice (@kimberlyarice1) November 15, 2022
New Hampshire House Democratic Majority Leader David Cote said Laughton “is entitled to the due process and presumption of innocence afforded to all accused persons,” and that he has “full confidence that New Hampshire’s judicial system will take appropriate and swift actions to protect the rights of the accused and any victims,” according to BizPac Review.
Laughton, who was first elected to represent District 31 in Nashua, New Hampshire, in 2020, has had more than a decade of legal troubles.
In 2008, Laughton served four months in prison on a felony conviction for identity and credit card fraud and falsifying physical evidence, according to the outlet.
Authorities arrested and charged Laughton in 2015 for allegedly making a bomb threat to the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center. The threat came after Laughton left another hospital receiving treatment for bipolar disorder.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone,” Laughton said at the time. “It was totally out of character for me.”
Authorities initially charged Laughton with making a false report of explosives. Still, a judge later reduced the charge to a misdemeanor after Laughton claimed to have suffered a mental health crisis.
After winning the New Hampshire house seat in 2020, Laughton was charged with several counts of providing false information through text messages to the city’s 911 emergency system, which the sitting representative denied.
Paul Smith, clerk of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, told the New Hampshire Journal that the state does not have a mechanism in place to remove a lawmaker charged with a crime.
“There are no rules,” Smith said. “There is no automatic process for expulsion.”
New Hampshire law prohibits convicted felons from voting or holding public office while serving jail or prison sentences. However, a person may vote or seek public office once again after authorities discharge the convicted felon as long as they live in the district they seek to represent in congruence with the New Hampshire Constitution.
Pete Silva, a Nashua Republican, told Patch that it was unfortunate that Laughton refused to come clean with the voters of his district during the election process.
“If I lived in the district, I would be extremely disappointed to learn, just days after the election, that my neighborhood was going to be represented by a person that only four years ago was convicted of a felony charge involving conspiracy and fraud and served time in prison,” Silva told Patch.
Laughton became the first transgender person elected to the New Hampshire Legislature in 2012, but resigned due to the 2008 conviction.