Nottingham teen faces sexual assault, burglary charges
NOTTINGHAM — Relief quickly spread among neighbors when they heard a local teen is being held on $250,000 cash bail following his arrest Wednesday for allegedly breaking into a nearby home and sexually assaulting a woman while she slept.
"They are glad — relieved. Everyone has been talking about it all day," said one local official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Zachery D. Lajoie, 17, of 26 Gebig Road, already had a history of vandalism last year that had residents along the winding rural road on edge, neighbors and a town official said.
But residents regard the new charges as a disturbing change in alleged behavior.
Lajoie is accused of breaking into a neighbor's house a few doors down from his home about 5:10 a.m. Wednesday to steal cigarettes, court complaints allege. Once inside, he noticed the 44-year-old tenant sleeping in her bed, police allege in the affidavit supporting his arrest charges.
Lajoie allegedly told police he went home to get some lotion, then returned to the woman's house with the purpose of having sex with her, the affidavits said Lajoie told them when questioned at the police station.
The affidavit states the woman woke up to find Lajoie standing naked over her bed, demanding sex. When she resisted his advances, Lajoie allegedly pushed her back onto the bed at least twice.
The teen said he was 18 years and lived in Dover, the affidavit said."He told her he had done jail time when he was 17 years old for running away. She said she asked him if he was crazy or just lonely ... He replied he was very lonely and tried to kiss her," police said in the affidavit.After Lajoie left the apartment, the victim said she initially was reluctant to call police.
Lajoie is charged with two counts of burglary and one count of attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault — all felonies. He also is charged with two Class A misdemeanor counts of sexual assault for allegedly forcibly fondling the victim.
Lajoie was arraigned on the current charges in 10th Circuit Court-Candia Division via video link-up from Rockingham County jail. He could enter no pleas on any of the charges pending appointment of an attorney.
"After what I've done, I believe it's appropriate that I stay in here until I've learned my lesson," Lajoie said at his arraignment.
A probable cause hearing is set for Aug. 9 in 10th Circuit Court-Candia.
People who live and work in the neighborhood describe Lajoie as polite and quiet, but someone who has been a source of trouble in the past.
"We have kids and he is an unstable child who obviously has some issues," said Tracy Canty, who lives across the street from Lajoie.
Lajoie allegedly took mail from people's mailboxes, ripped it up and strew it on the ground and burned down a neighbor's garden-style bridge last year, her daughter, Natasha Canty, said.
Retired postmaster Leona Guptill said "I feel sad for the kid. I don't condemn anyone because they have problems."
But she called Lajoie's arrest and high bail "a necessity. I didn't know of all his problems."
No one answered the door at Lajoie's house Thursday, a single-floor cinder-block building with an attached shed.
Assistant County Attorney Zachary A. Cross said he cannot comment on whether or not a defendant has a prior criminal history.
The only other adult charge listed against Lajoie in Candia court is a minor in possession of tobacco. Lajoie pleaded guilty to that charge May 29 and was ordered to serve 20 hours community service.