Four N.H. men indicted for vandalizing homes connected to journalists

Local News

Homes connected to journalists with New Hampshire Public Radio were spray-painted with vulgar messages and bricks were thrown through their windows last year.

Four New Hampshire men are facing charges related to the harassment and intimidation of two journalists who investigated reports of alleged sexual misconduct, according to officials. This undated image shows the vandalism to a journalist’s house. Courtesy of Lauren Chooljian

Four men were indicted this week for allegedly harassing and intimidating two journalists employed by New Hampshire Public Radio. Three of the men were previously charged and arrested in June. 

Prosecutors say New Hampshire residents Eric Labarge, Tucker Cockerline, Michael Waselchuck, and Keenan Saniatan conspired to intimidate the reporters after NHPR published a report last year with allegations of sexual misconduct by a former New Hampshire businessperson. To do this, they allegedly spray-painted houses with foreboding messaging and threw objects through windows. 

The journalists are reporter Lauren Chooljian and her editor Daniel Barrick. The businessperson is Eric Spofford, the founder and former owner of Granite Recovery Centers, New Hampshire’s largest network of addiction rehabilitation centers, according to multiple previous reports. 

Spofford, who denied any involvement and the misconduct allegations, has filed a libel lawsuit against NHPR. That lawsuit is currently on hold, InDepthNH reported. 

Cockerline, Waselchuck, and Saniatan were all arrested earlier this year. Labarge was arrested Friday. He is allegedly “a close personal associate” of “Subject 1,” reportedly Spofford. 

Labarge allegedly solicited Cockerline to vandalize Chooljian’s former residence in Hanover, N.H., in April 2022. On April 24, Cockerline spray-painted a vulgar word in large red letters on the front door and threw a brick through the window of the home, prosecutors said. 

Around that time, Saniatan allegedly agreed to vandalize Barrick’s home in Concord, N.H. and Chooljian’s parents’ home in Hampstead, N.H. He spray-painted the same vulgar word on the front door of Barrick’s home and threw a large rock at the exterior of the building, prosecutors said. They also allege he threw a “softball-sized” rock through a window of Chooljian’s parents’ home and spray-painted the same word. 

Around May 18, Labarge allegedly solicited Cockerline to vandalize the Hampstead home and Chooljian’s home in Melrose, Mass. Cockerline then allegedly recruited Waselchuck. 

On May 20, Cockerline allegedly spray-painted the vulgar word in large red letters on the garage doors of Chooljian’s parents’ home and left a brick on the ground near the front door. A few hours later, Waselchuck allegedly threw a brick through the window of Chooljian’s Melrose home and spray-painted the phrase “JUST THE BEGINNING” on the front of the house.