Two stories here in New Hampshire caught my attention today, two stories of bad people getting their comeuppance.
First was the tale of one Arthur Cross of Windham. A month ago, Mr. Cross was convicted of possessing child pornography. He was given a suspended sentence and placed on probation, with one of the conditions that he refrain from any sort of job or volunteer work that might place him in contact with children.
He must have been daydreaming during that part of his sentencing, because yesterday he showed up at Windham Middle School to see if he could volunteer for their upcoming Field Day. An alert school resource officer remembered Cross being arrested on the child-porn charges and called in to the station. A quick check confirmed he was violating his probation, and he was immediately arrested. Cross not only faces his original sentence, but up to an additional 15 years for going to the school. The one thing I don’t quite understand is why he was released on his own recognizance — the guy is obviously a danger to the community.
The other story requires a bit more background. Last week, the Manchester, NH police issued a very cryptic statement. They released two closely-cropped of a lovely blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl, maybe two years old, and said they were seeking to identify her because they “had evidence she may be in danger.”
I immediately read between the lines, as I’m sure plenty of other people did, and concluded the police had discovered some pornographic images featuring her, and had indications she had a local connection.
There was no immediate response, but the story soon went national. Shortly thereafter, she was identified as living in Florida. She was taken into protective state custody until they could investigate her case thoroughly.
By some miracle, she actually survived Florida custody and was returned to her parents once it was discovered that her grandfather (who has a home in Lynn, MA and a trailer in New Boston, NH) had recently visited the family. And while there, he had apparently taken nude photos of the little girl. He had taken his digital camera to a CVS for some prints, but an alert employee called the cops.
Yesterday, Richard Hawes, 63, was arraigned on five charges of possessing child pornography and held on $100,000 cash bond or surety. He is facing a probable-cause hearing on June 22.
He may not face justice in New Hampshire any time soon, however. Florida police say they are considering charges of capital sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation, and sexual performance on a minor — charges that vastly outweigh the New Hampshire counts, and the first alone would mandate life without parole.
Normally, I’m a bit prejudiced towards New Hampshire, and would prefer that we get our first dibs on the guy — after all, we caught him. But in this case, considering how much more punishment Florida can inflict, tied in with his strong ties up here, I relish the thought of him spending the rest of his days rotting ing jail thousands of miles from his homes, with his only nearly family hating him. It’s not quite as satisfying to me as hearing that he had gotten the needle, but I guess it’ll do.