CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A member of the powerful New Hampshire Executive Council is facing calls to resign for hiring a campaign aide he knew was a convicted child sex offender, but he said Tuesday he has no intention of stepping down.
“I don’t plan to resign. There’s too much work yet to be done,” Raymond Burton told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
The aide, Mark Seidensticker, 45, was arrested last month and accused of inappropriate contact with teenage boys. Based on that arrest, Burton said he no longer will employ Seidensticker, who is being held on $50,000 bail at the Merrimack County jail.
The New Hampshire Union Leader last week quoted court records as showing Seidensticker previously has been convicted of indecent exposure, attempted sexual assault on a boy, failing to register in Maine and New Hampshire as a sexual offender, stalking a former boyfriend and violating probation. He has served several jail sentences.
U.S. Sens. John Sununu and Judd Gregg and both of the state’s congressmen have urged Burton, to resign. All four are Republicans, as is Burton. Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, also called Monday for Burton to step down.
Sununu said court records and campaign reports “make clear that … Burton continued to employ Mark Seidensticker in a public capacity despite knowledge of his convictions.”
Burton, 66, of Bath, has been on the Executive Council, an elected five-member body that approves state contracts and appointments, for all but two years since 1977. Popular with constituents, he is known for his ability to win projects for his far-flung North Country district, which extends to the Canadian border.
According to the newspaper, Seidensticker worked on five of Burton’s last nine campaigns, performing what Burton described as general campaign work such as setting up fundraisers and driving.
Burton paid Seidensticker more than $7,200 last year, according to reports filed with the secretary of state — by far the largest amount Burton paid any campaign workers.
Burton said Seidensticker was a friend. “I was trying to help somebody who needed some help and I got burned by it,” he said Tuesday.
Seidensticker joined the Burton campaign as a volunteer in 1992 but was dismissed after the assault allegations became known. But he returned to the Burton camp through the years. Burton has said he knew of a 1992 conviction and had vague knowledge of the Maine failure-to-register charges.
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