YDC Abuse Suspect Seeks To Block Release of Records from His Time as a Police Officer

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Attorney General's booking photo

Jeffrey Buskey


LACONIA — Jeffrey Buskey is already notorious as one of the 11 men charged with sexually abusing children inside the Sununu Youth Services Center, then called YDC, but his lawyer says releasing Buskey’s police internal affairs records would damage his reputation.

InDepthNH.org was in Belknap Superior Court in Laconia on Wednesday for a hearing on Buskey’s motion to block the RSA 91A right-to-know request this reporter filed seeking the internal affairs reports as well as the correspondence between the Sanbornton Police Department and Police Standards and Training about Buskey.

Buskey, a former Sanbornton Police Officer, is currently facing a criminal trial accused of sexually abusing David Meehan and others when he worked at YDC in the 1990s. Meehan’s civil trial against the state Department of Health and Human Services ended last month with a record $38 million jury award as jurors found that the abuse happened, and the state is liable for Meehan’s abuse. The state is contesting the amount owed to Meehan claiming state law only allows a payment of $475,000.

The Meehan trial featured weeks of grueling evidence about the hundreds of rapes and other abuse Meehan suffered, evidence that has been reported in state and national news outlets. 

Tom Stonitsch, Buskey’s defense attorney, said there is potentially something in Buskey’s Sanbornton file that could, even now with all the rape and abuse allegations public, taint the jury pool if it becomes known.

“Abuse of authority is likely to be an issue during a criminal trial,” Stonitsch said.

Stonitsch further argued that Buskey’s employment in Sanbornton, which ended 20 years ago, is no longer a matter of public interest. There is no urgent public business requiring the release of the records from two decades ago, he said.

“There is no need to know about the conduct of a police officer since he’s no longer on the force,” Stonitsch said.

Additionally, releasing Buskey’s Sanbornton records could jeopardize the state’s ongoing investigation into the YDC abuse, Stonitsch argued.

“This is still an ongoing investigation,” Stonitsch said.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office is not currently intervening in the case, and Stonitsch told the court he was informed that the agency is not taking a position. The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday about the case.

InDepthNH.org is fighting Buskey’s attempt to hide his records with the assistance of attorney Anthony Soltani. Soltani said in court there is no legal basis for keeping the reports secret.

“Under no theory of New Hampshire jurisprudence can every word of every document in every batch in every set of documents be subject to some privilege,” Soltani said in court Wednesday. “There is no blanket prohibition.”

Soltani said the damning allegations against Buskey that he sexually abused a child are already well known to the public. This week, Hillsborough Superior Court Judge Will Delker released 187 pages of previously sealed affidavits that go into horrific detail about Buskey’s alleged crimes, Soltani said. 

“That, if anything, is even more prejudicial,” Soltani said.

As for the argument that there is no valid public interest in 20-year-old records, Soltani dismissed that as poor logic. If old records are of no interest, they can have no ability to taint a jury or impede Buskey’s right to a fair trial, Soltani said.

Buskey was fired from the Sanbornton Police Department in 2004 after he was accused of bouncing a $1,000 check. That matter was widely reported in state media at the time. However, Buskey’s name does not appear on the state’s Exculpatory Evidence Schedule, also known as the Laurie List, for police officers accused of misconduct.

The Sanbornton Police Department, represented in court by attorney Steve Bennett, is not opposed to releasing the documents if so ordered by the court. Meehan’s civil attorneys have already requested Buskey’s file, Bennett said.

Judge Mark Attorri said there is not a lot of New Hampshire legal precedence on the question of a defendant’s right to a fair trial versus the public’s right to know. 

“It’s an interesting conflict that we’re presented with here,” Attorri said.

The burden of proof is on Buskey and Stonitsch to show the defense will be harmed by releasing the records. Attorri gave all parties 30-days to file briefs laying out their respective legal arguments in the matter before a hearing is set. Until Attorri makes a ruling, the files are going to remain non-public. 

Buskey is currently on bail and living out of state. He was not at the hearing on Wednesday.

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