Philip Mathewson pleads not guilty

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/20/2022 2:05:47 PM

Philip Mathewson, a Hancock business owner indicted on two felony charges of criminal restraint and aggravated felonious sexual assault, was arraigned on July 1. He has pleaded not guilty.

Hillsborough Assistant County Attorney Ariana Baldasaro said the case is still very early on and is still under investigation.

“The state has not made any offers to resolve the case as of yet, but if the case does not resolve by way of a plea, the state plans to take it to trial,” Baldasaro said.

The indictments claim that on March 31, Mathewson, 55, owner and operator of Mathewson Companies Inc., “knowingly engaged in sexual penetration” with a male without consent and also confined him unlawfully, grabbing him by the neck when he attempted to leave. Aggravated felonious sexual assault carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years. Criminal restraint comes with a 3½- to seven-year sentence, Baldasaro said.

Jeff Odland, Mathewson’s attorney, said that normally a dispositional conference is the next step, during which a judge will determine whether the case should be settled with a plea deal or go to trial.

“In Mr. Mathewson’s case, we haven’t received a date for the next hearing yet,” Odland said.

While Odland said he could not comment directly on the matter, he did say the state’s theory has changed from one involving forcible sexual assault, for which the court determined there was no probable cause, to lack of consent.

Baldasaro explained there are multiple legal theories for which the state can charge aggravated felonious sexual assault. The state can charge multiple theories in any given case if the facts fit, but if found guilty on multiple theories, a defendant can only be sentenced on one of the theories for the same act. Mathewson was originally arraigned on May 6 for aggravated felonious sexual assault with force, but the court found no probable cause to support the force element, Baldasaro said.

“A grand jury has since indicted Mathewson on the theory of lack of consent, which in the state’s view actually fits better with the facts alleged,” she said, explaining that in New Hampshire, under RSA 632-A:2, there are many ways in which a person can be found guilty of aggravated felonious sexual assault. Section A of the statute states aggravated felonious sexual assault occurs if a person engages in sexual penetration with another person “when the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force, physical violence or superior physical strength,” and Baldasaro said the state must prove the elements of the crime in that way under that section.

“This is typically when the defendant exerts some sort of physical force/actual force or violence upon the victim in order to commit the sexual act,” she said, adding that another section in the statute requires the state to prove that at the time of the assault, “the victim indicates by speech or conduct that there is not freely given consent to performance of the sexual act.” This does not require that the alleged perpetrator use “physical force, physical violence or superior physical strength,” Baldasaro said.

“[It only requires] that at the time of the act, the perpetrator did not have the consent of the victim but performed [it] anyway, just not necessarily with violence or actual physical force. It’s all fact-specific,” she said.

Mathewson Companies serves the greater Monadnock region as well as Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee and Merrimack Valley regions, according to the company’s website, which states that Mathewson founded the company in 1986. The company also operates a gravel pit in Peterborough.


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