Rindge: Hannaford store worker faces sex charge

RINDGE — A Troy man has been indicted on a charge of felonious sexual assault of an 8-year-old, a child he met while working at Hannaford supermarket in Rindge.

The alleged incident took place at the grocery store on Route 202 in mid-February, according to Rindge Police Chief Frank Morrill.

John Miller, 48, of Troy was indicted by a Cheshire County Grand Jury on April 29 on one count of felonious sexual assault for allegedly fondling a minor, according to Cheshire County Superior Court documents available Tuesday.

Miller — who police say has worked for a number of years in Hannaford’s produce section — allegedly offered to help out a distressed mom, and frequent store customer, who was shopping with a number of children in tow, Morrill said in an interview at the Rindge Police Department on Tuesday.

“The store employee offered to show the children around [the store] as a favor,” Morrill said. It was during that tour that the alleged act took place, he said.

The mother of the victim reported the allegations to Rindge police approximately two weeks later, according to Morrill. After receiving the report, Morrill said, police forwarded the case to the Cheshire County Attorney’s Office, which conducted a lengthy investigation that included interviews with the victim but not Miller.

At this time, Morrill said, police believe the alleged assault was an isolated incident.

Wednesday morning, Morrill said he had met with Hannaford’s store manager Tuesday, at which time he was assured that Miller would either be placed on administrative leave or terminated.

“He’s been removed from the capacity in which he was able to gain public trust as a long-term employee,” Morrill said.

When asked about the allegations, Rindge’s store manager had no comment Wednesday and referred the Ledger-Transcript to Hannaford’s corporate office.

Eric Blom, external communications manager for Hannaford, wrote in an email to the Ledger-Transcript on Wednesday, “Our store has fully cooperated with the law enforcement investigation. Inquiries related to the indictment should be directed to law enforcement authorities.”

Miller was arraigned on the felony-level sexual assault charge at the Superior Court in Keene on Wednesday morning. Miller was released on $5,000 personal recognizance.

According to Assistant Cheshire County Attorney Keith Clouatre, Miller has no prior criminal record.

As part of his bail conditions, Miller is not permitted to possess firearms, and is prohibited from having contact with the victim and her family; he must also waive extradition, which allows New Hampshire authorities to retrieve him in another state if necessary.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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