While a warrant has been issued by Derry District Court for the arrest of Town Administrator John Anderson, Derry town officials said this week that Anderson will remain on paid administrative leave until they have concluded their own investigation.
Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said Friday that Anderson, 50, is facing a charge of “Indecent Exposure and Lewdness,” a Class A misdemeanor carrying a $1,000 fine and a maximum sentence of 12 months in the Rockingham County House of Correction.
The official complaint states he “knowingly exposed his genitals to another…under circumstances that John Anderson should have known would likely cause affront or alarm.” The incident was reported to have occurred at 7:13 p.m. July 11 at Anderson’s home.
Anderson has been on paid administrative leave since July 12, when the Town Council met in an emergency meeting after a citizen complained about an incident involving Anderson at his Lane Road home on July 11. Assistant Town Administrator Larry Budreau has been performing Anderson’s duties.
According to New Hampshire State Police Capt. David Parenteau of the Investigative Services Bureau, Anderson is currently in Maine, and Anderson’s attorney is on vacation. State police are coordinating with Anderson and his attorney to find a date and time to serve the warrant.
While not all the details are being released, Reams said that Anderson answered the door naked when a DirecTV salesman made a random sales call. The salesman said he saw an arm sticking out of the door waving him to the residence, and was invited in. He said he continued making his sales pitch while not looking at Anderson, until the occupant “made a lewd demonstration,” according to Reams, after which the salesman turned and left.
According to the affidavit supporting the arrest warrant, the salesman said he was invited into Anderson’s home and was confronted by a nude male subject. He told police he was uncomfortable and did not look at the subject, who was the only person around. When the salesperson became upset and left the house, he contacted his supervisor, who called 911.
Reams said he could not release the salesman’s name at this time. The affidavit also states that before the police arrived, the salesman watched as Anderson ran to a vehicle parked outside and left the area. He states he is positive the man he saw run to the car and leave was the same person who was nude inside the house.
When police arrived, they entered the home and found no one inside. A description of the car was given to police, and came back to a 2007 Toyota Avalon registered to Anderson. Later that night, the vehicle was located elsewhere on Lane Road, but no one was found in the area. According to the affidavit, because the vehicle was unsecured and keys were inside, police took the keys for safekeeping. On July 12, Anderson picked up his keys from the police department.
The Town Council met Friday afternoon in a nonpublic session under RSA 91-A:3, “the dismissal, promotion, or compensation of any public employee or the disciplining of such employee, or the investigation of any charges against him or her, unless the employee affected has a right to a meeting and requests that that meeting be open.”
Following the 90-minute session, chairman Michael Fairbanks read a resolution stating that the administrator would remain on paid leave while the Council performs an inquiry into the charges.
Fairbanks said until the inquiry is concluded, Budreau will remain as the spokesperson for the Council regarding Anderson. Another non-public session under the same RSA is set for Tuesday evening, after the Nutfield News goes to press.
After the meeting Budreau said the inquiry, authorized under Section 7:4 of the Derry Town Council, will “provide the Town Council the opportunity to ask any employee to come before the Council and give information.”
Rather than taking immediate action, either returning Anderson to work or dismissing him, the inquiry will give the Council a chance to review the facts on its own, he said.
Budreau said the inquiry would be “expeditious,” and he expected to have a determination within a week.
Asked if it is within the Council’s purview to terminate Anderson, Budreau said it was. Asked if this would give the Council an opportunity to speak directly with Anderson, Budreau said, “My sense is that it will. My sense is that they want to give Mr. Anderson an opportunity to speak.”
Budreau said the Council had not spoken directly to Anderson or his attorney. He added, “This is not related to the outcome from the court. It is an opportunity for the Council to seek more information.” Anderson had received a 2 percent raise on June 24 and has been town administrator in Derry for three years. Prior to taking the Derry job, Anderson was town manager in Boothbay, Maine.