Derry state representative draws deferred jail term
BRENTWOOD — Derry State Rep. Frank Sapareto was sentenced to a deferred 30-day jail term and ordered to undergo an anger management evaluation after a jury convicted him of pushing his girlfriend’s 20-year-old daughter during a domestic incident last April.
Sapareto, 53, was convicted by a jury last week in Rockingham County Superior Court on a single count of misdemeanor simple.
His trial was an appeal on one of three simple assault charges that a Derry district court judge convicted him of after a separate trial in March. In the earlier trial, two of the charges involving Sapareto pushing his girlfriend’s 19-year-old son were reduced by a judge to violation-level offenses.
Sapareto, R-Derry, has appealed those two convictions to the state Supreme Court, according to prosecutors.
His latest conviction will require him to appear before Judge Marguerite Wageling next year and show why the month-long jail term should not be imposed.
“Obviously, I regret what happened,” Sapareto told Wageling prior to being sentenced Wednesday. “I wish it never happened.”
Derry police charged Sapareto, R-Derry, following an incident at his girlfriend’s home last April 11.
Sapareto was having dinner with his teenage son and girlfriend Barbara Battite while her two children were eating in the other room, according to prosecutors.
The woman’s daughter, Marina Battite, exchanged words with her mother about burn marks some garlic bread made on the kitchen table, prosecutors said.
A short time later, Battite told her brother, Anthony, that Sapareto made comments to their mother encouraging her to kick him out of the house, according to court testimony.
Anthony Battite asked Sapareto if he had anything to say to him prior to him leaving the home, prosecutors said.
But Sapareto returned to the home a short time later and began pushing Anthony Battite. During that confrontation, Marina Battite was pushed as well, prosecutors said.
Assistant County Attorney Terri Harrington, who prosecuted the case, asked Wageling to impose a deferred jail sentence so that Sapareto will have to prove that he received an anger management evaluation and complied with other terms of his sentence.
Sapareto will also be required to do community service.
"His entire course of testimony demonstrated that Mr. Sapareto feels no responsibility for this incident and has an anger issue," Harrington said on Wednesday.
Defense lawyer Anthony DiFruscia, a former state representative, asked Wageling to show leniency on his client, saying that he has dealt with recent financial woes and has learned his lesson.
Sapareto could have faced a maximum of one year in county jail and a $2,000 fine.
In January, Sapareto sponsored a bill that would have reduced simple assault from a misdemeanor — an offense punishable with jail time — to a violation-level offense. The bill was deemed inexpedient to legislate in March, according to state records.
Wageling said she appreciated that Sapareto accepted on Wednesday that he mishandled the matter with this girlfriend's children, but chided him for his actions.
"You decided you were going to be the macho guy back on April 11," Wageling said. "You put kerosene on that fire and lit it."
The judge also encouraged Sapareto to change his behavior, saying it affected his girlfriend's family, "in a very grave way."
"I know you never intended to harm anybody. That’s obvious," Wageling said. "But you are an animated guy. You physically responded to statements or actions of anybody who did anything during the trial."
Wageling will suspend a $1,000 fine if Sapareto complies with the terms of his deferred sentence. He is also ordered to have no contact with the two victims in the case.
Sapareto remains a state representative in Derry.