Authorities are continuing to investigate recent acts of vandalism that targeted the homes of two New Hampshire Public Radio journalists in Melrose and in New Hampshire.
“We are actively working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to bring those responsible to justice,” said Michael Garrity, a spokesman for the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, in a statement Friday.
The Middlesex district attorney’s office said Thursday that a Melrose home on Lynn Fells Parkway had been vandalized last Saturday morning when a man tossed a brick through a window, then fled toward Lincoln Street.
The message “just the beginning” was spray painted on the home, prosecutors said. No arrests have been made, but the office released a surveillance image of a suspect.
In a story about the vandalism posted to its website Thursday night, NHPR said earlier acts of vandalism, including spray-painted obscenities and smashed windows, were reported Saturday at a Hampstead, N.H., residence and on April 24 at homes in Concord, N.H. and Hanover, N.H.
Garrity said Friday that the attorney general’s office is “coordinating investigations with our law enforcement partners in Concord, Hanover, and Hampstead.”
The radio station reported that each act of vandalism targeted the current or former homes of NHPR news director Dan Barrick and reporter Lauren Chooljian.
In March, Chooljian reported on sexual misconduct allegations against the former chief executive of a prominent addiction treatment provider, the station said.
Eric Spofford, former CEO of Granite Recovery Centers, has denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, and in a statement Friday, he said he had nothing to do with the vandalism.
“Let me be clear — not only was I completely uninvolved with these incidents of vandalism, I also do not support or condone them,” Spofford said. “I also don’t need to vandalize someone’s property. I have truth on my side and I will vindicate myself through lawful means. I have no motive to vandalize a reporter’s property months after an article was written about me, when I am already expending significant resources to litigate these defamation claims.”
Spofford also alleged that NHPR “wants to deter me from bringing lawful defamation claims” against the station based on the March reporting.
An NHPR spokesperson declined to comment on Spofford’s assertions.
Jim Schachter, NHPR’s president and CEO, told the station Thursday that the work of Chooljian and the whole newsroom “is outstanding reporting that no one is going to intimidate our newsroom from continuing to pursue, wherever it takes them.”
Spofford said many people in recovery have “credited me with saving their lives. Perhaps one of them felt compelled to do these acts in a misguided attempt to defend me. I would never condone it, but I have no control over what other people do.”
Barrick declined to discuss the vandalism cases Friday when reached via e-mail, referring to a statement NHPR released on Thursday. Chooljian declined to comment Friday.
“NHPR condemns attempts to intimidate or harm journalists, here in New Hampshire or anywhere else,” the station said. “Our reporters, producers and editors will not be intimidated in the pursuit of New Hampshire Public Radio’s public-service mission. NHPR’s trustworthy journalism will continue, every day, to enrich lives and help build stronger communities, here in New Hampshire and beyond.”
The statement said NHPR is working with local, state, and federal law enforcement.
Requests for further comment on the investigation sent to the Middlesex district attorney’s office and police officials in Concord, Hanover, and Hampstead were not answered. An FBI spokesperson declined to comment.