New Hampshire

NH Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Woodburn Vows to Fight Domestic Violence Charges

A New Hampshire state senator facing domestic violence charges says he will fight the allegations in court.

Senate Minority Leader Jeffrey Woodburn, a 53-year-old Democrat from Whitefield, faces several charges, including two counts of domestic violence, four counts of simple assault, two counts of criminal mischief and one criminal trespass charge, according to the New Hampshire Attorney General's office.

He is accused of hitting and biting a woman and kicking in the door of his house.

Woodburn said in a statement Thursday that he intends "to fully address and defend against these charges in court."

But that has not stopped bipartisan calls for his immediate resignation.

"Senator Woodburn's morally reprehensible, violent behavior has no place in public service, or anywhere else," Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said in a tweet. "Domestic violence will not be tolerated in New Hampshire. Senator Woodburn must resign. Immediately."

Molly Kelly, the Democrat looking to unseat Sununu, also weighed in on the arrest.


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"I am deeply troubled by Senator Woodburn’s actions. Domestic violence is unacceptable, period. He must resign from the Senate immediately," said Woodburn in a statement.

The charges stem from a number of separate incidents from as recently as June 10 to as far back as Aug. 10, 2017.

The attorney general's office did not disclose who the victim was but said it was an adult female.

In the latest incident, authorities said Woodburn is accused of biting the victim on her right forearm, resulting in bruising. In an incident on Dec. 24, 2017, authorities said Woodburn struck the victim in the stomach with his hand.

In a statement, Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley also called for Woodburn to resign in wake of the allegations.

"The New Hampshire Democratic Party stands firm in our belief that any form of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or domestic violence is completely unacceptable behavior for anyone let alone our public officials who should all be held to a higher standard. We take these accusations against Senator Jeff Woodburn very seriously and stand with his accuser and support her during this unimaginably painful time. We are asking Senator Woodburn to resign from office immediately," Buckley said.

Senate President Chuck Morse issued a statement saying he was shocked and disturbed to learn of the charges.

"Elected officials exist to serve the public interest and should be held to a higher standard. There is no excuse and absolutely no room for domestic abuse and violence in our society," read the statement from Morse. "It is clear that Jeff Woodburn can no longer serve the public interest and out of respect for this office and those he serves, I call for his resignation from Senate District 1, immediately."

Congresswoman Annie Kustera also condemned the allegations.

"Domestic violence is abhorrent and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Senator Woodburn should resign his position immediately," Kuster said.

The two Democratic U.S. senators representing the state are also calling for Woodburn's job.

"Domestic violence should always be condemned in the strongest terms and there must be accountability for acts of abuse," Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement. "I'm appalled by these charges and call on Jeff Woodburn to resign."

"We must never tolerate the grave and despicable crime of domestic violence," agreed Sen. Maggie Hassan. "Given these extremely disturbing and serious charges, Jeff Woodburn must resign immediately."

Woodburn is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in the 1st Circuit Court-District Division-Lancaster on Aug. 20.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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