Home » 2 New Hampshire Journalists’ Homes Were Vandalized in Retaliation for an Article, Officials say. 3 Men Now Face Federal Charges
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2 New Hampshire Journalists’ Homes Were Vandalized in Retaliation for an Article, Officials say. 3 Men Now Face Federal Charges

Three men face federal charges for allegedly vandalizing homes associated with two New Hampshire journalists, authorities said, in suspected acts of retaliation for a published article.

The three suspects – one of whom remains at large – vandalized the homes with bricks and large rocks, and spray-painted “lewd and threatening language” in five separate incidents in April and May of last year, according to a US Attorney’s Office news release.

They are being charged with conspiring to commit stalking through interstate travel, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution, the release stated.

The alleged vandalism came after a New Hampshire Public Radio journalist published an article in March 2022 detailing allegations of sexual and other misconduct by a former New Hampshire businessperson, officials said. The businessman has not been charged. Another journalist also contributed to the article.

WBUR public radio in Boston reported the vandalism attacks targeted the homes of New Hampshire Public Radio journalist Lauren Chooljian, her parents and her editor, Dan Barrick.

CNN has reached out to Chooljian, Barrick and New Hampshire Public Radio for further comment.

Investigators believe the suspects conspired to “retaliate” against the news outlet and the two journalists with at least one other person – described as a “close personal associate” of the businessperson who was the subject of the article, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

In one April incident, “a softball-sized rock was thrown through a front exterior window” of the journalist’s parents’ home in Hampstead at around midnight. A vulgar word was also “spray-painted in large red letters on one of the garage doors,” said the news release from federal prosecutors.

A brick was also thrown through the window of the journalist’s home in Melrose, Massachusetts, with the words “JUST THE BEGINNING” spray-painted in large red letters on the front of the home, the US Attorney’s Office said.

The three suspects –Tucker Cockerline, 32, Michael Waselchuck, 35, and Keenan Saniatan, 36 – were each charged with conspiring to commit stalking through interstate travel, the US Attorney’s Office said.

Cockerline and Waselchuck were arrested Friday, while Saniatan remains at large, the US Attorney’s Office said Friday.

These “charges should send a clear message that the Department of Justice will not tolerate harassment or intimidation of journalists,” said Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy in a statement.

“Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of any healthy democracy and these three men are now accused of infringing on that freedom by conspiring to harass and intimidate two New Hampshire journalists who were simply doing their jobs,” said Christopher DiMenna, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division.

Cockerline and Waselchuck have a hearing scheduled for June 20. Scott Lauer, attorney for Tucker Cockerline told CNN he was unable to comment. CNN has also reached out to Waselchuck’s public defender.

Source: CNN

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