Howard Pearl, a fourth-generation farmer in New Hampshire announced on Wednesday that he was withdrawing from the Republican primary race for the state’s 17th District Senate seat due to an “unforeseen personal issue” offering no details.
The Concord Monitor reports that later, on Wednesday evening, Pearl surrendered himself to the Belknap County Sheriff’s office, which is expected to file a class A misdemeanor sexual assault charge against him in the Concord district court on Monday.
Sheriff Craig Wiggin has declined to comment on the sealed affidavit of arrest explaining that it involves a juvenile. Although he did not specify if the child is male or female, he did acknowledge that the victim was “known” to Pearl, who remains free on $10,000 personal recognizance bail.
So why does “sexual assault” — which usually really means “rape” or “attempted rape” — merit only a class A misdemeanor charge? Apparently, that’s due to a technicality. Wiggin explained:
“The charge is sexual assault, but the circumstances here make it a misdemeanor.”
The Sheriff added that he was made aware of the incident which took place at Pearl’s home a couple of months ago and that the investigation is ongoing. Wiggin declined to say whether he expected further charges to be filed.
Wiggin said that the case had been referred to him by the Merrimack County Sheriff’s Department and county attorney’s office both of whom cited conflicts of interest due to their close association with Pearl as members of the Merrimack County Republican Committee.
Too bad Pearl couldn’t keep it in his pants.
In a statement issued Wednesday announcing his withdrawal Pearl said:
“Running for state senate has been one of the best experiences of my life as I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Granite Staters about their thoughts and concerns on how best to move New Hampshire forward. Regrettably, I have an unforeseen personal issue and effective immediately I am dropping out of the race.”
Pearl’s opponent in the primary race, Senator John Reagan, the incumbent who defeated Pearl in 2012 by a mere 130 votes, issued a statement saying:
“I send my prayers and best wishes for a resolution to the circumstances leading to Howard Pearl’s withdrawal for the State Senate District 17 primary race.”