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Federal judge considers bail for woman accused of taking explicit photos of children


By Amy Coveno

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    MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (WMUR) — A federal judge is considering whether to release a woman accused of taking explicit photographs of children at the day care where she worked.

New Hampshire charges have been dismissed against Lindsay Groves, which officials said is standard procedure in cases in which federal charges are filed. But Hillsborough County Attorney John Coughlin said he is still watching the case closely.

“We’re going to be keeping an eye on her,” Coughlin said.

News over the weekend that a federal judge is prepared to release Groves on bail came as a surprise.

“I was (surprised),” Coughlin said. “I read it on WMUR.”

Groves is accused of sexual exploitation of children and the distribution of child pornography.

According to the federal complaint, two boys and a girl were photographed with an iPhone in a private bathroom at Creative Minds Daycare in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts. Prosecutors said those photos were sent to Groves’ former partner, former New Hampshire state Rep. Stacie Laughton for “sexual gratification.” Laughton is also facing federal charges.

“With regard to community safety, these allegations are absolutely horrible,” Coughlin said.

On Friday, the same day the federal judge issued a bail order, federal prosecutors fired back, saying they wanted to appeal the pretrial bail conditions. That hearing is scheduled for this coming Friday, so Groves remains in jail.

Laughton is also in jail. A prior felony conviction makes Laughton ineligible for pretrial bail in this case, Coughlin said.

Coughlin said he’s shocked that Groves could be back in the community as soon as this weekend.

“I’m really concerned that the federal government has taken this case, and yet now, I think they are letting the residents of Hillsborough County down in terms of public safety, because this individual is going to go back to Hudson, and I’m not sure who is going to be monitoring her,” he said.

Coughlin said federal convictions bring mandatory sentences, in contrast to New Hampshire judges, who have a lot of sentencing discretion. If Groves is convicted, she would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 to 30 years in federal prison.

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