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Former Hanover principal pleads guilty to misusing school money

  • Former Bernice A. Ray School Principal Matthew Laramie listens to Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore before pleading guilty in Grafton Superior Court, May 21, 2019 to the theft of thousands of dollars of Hanover School District money. He will serve 28 days in Grafton County jail and pay $25,000 in restitution. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Former Bernice A. Ray School Principal Matthew Laramie, left, confers with his attorney Steve Mirkin off the record after pleading guilty in Grafton Superior Court, May 21, 2019 to the theft of thousands of dollars of Hanover School District money. He will serve 28 days in Grafton County jail and pay $25,000 in restitution. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 21, 2019

NORTH HAVERHILL — After pleading guilty on Tuesday to misusing thousands of dollars of the Hanover School District’s money, former Bernice A. Ray School Principal Matthew Laramie said he looks forward to putting the recent past behind him.

Laramie, who is now an assistant manager of a restaurant in Massachusetts, took a plea agreement in Grafton Superior Court and entered guilty pleas to two felony counts of theft by deception.

“I’m just looking forward to this process coming to an end, and for my life to continue on an upward track,” Laramie told a Valley News reporter after his plea and sentencing hearing.

Laramie, who didn’t speak in court other than to answer questions from Judge Lawrence MacLeod, was sentenced to one year in the Grafton County jail, all suspended, except for 28 days to be served in intervals throughout June and July.

He will report to the North Haverhill jail on June 23 and stay through July 3, and then return in 48-hour stints throughout the end of the month, an arrangement that will allow him to keep his job, his attorney, Steve Mirkin, told the judge.

Laramie also received a second 2½- to five-year sentence, all suspended. He will remain on probation for four years.

He also must continue to pay restitution as outlined in a civil judgment, which consists of monthly payments totaling $25,000.

“It’s obvious you have taken responsibility for what has happened here,” MacLeod told Laramie during the hearing.

Laramie, who resigned from his post as principal in 2016 and voluntarily gave up his education credentials in October of that same year, diverted more than $30,000 of the Hanover School District’s money between January 2014 and March 2016. The money was intended for professional development but he used it for personal purposes, according to the charges.

The two counts he pleaded guilty to are were tied to trips to Boston College and The Carter Center in Georgia. The remaining two theft charges, which alleged he misused money on other trips, were dismissed as part of the agreement.

The charges came after Hanover school officials in 2016 said questions had arisen about nearly $34,000 in “unapproved” expenses that were “deemed personal and not district-related.” An audit found a majority of the questionable charges related to food, lodging and other miscellaneous expenses.

The case took a while to develop, but Hanover Police Chief Charlie Dennis said his department sent its report to the Grafton County Attorney’s Office in late 2017. Laramie wasn’t indicted until November 2018.

The school district previously declined to pursue charges in the case after the district’s insurance company cut a check for $33,850 in the summer of 2016.

In court on Tuesday, Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore said the Hanover Police Department and the school district were in agreement with the resolution to Laramie’s case.

Before his hiring in 2011 in Hanover, Laramie, a Charlestown native, worked as an assistant principal at Kearsarge Regional High School, and as athletic director at both Lebanon High School and Stevens High School in Claremont.

In October 2016, Laramie was found guilty in Lebanon district court of soliciting prostitution in Canaan. During a sting operation by the Canaan Police Department, Laramie offered to pay an undercover officer for sex acts.

As part of a plea deal in that case, Laramie pleaded no contest to a violation-level offense and received a fine.

Before exiting the North Haverhill courthouse on Tuesday, Laramie said it has been a long road, but life has been going well — all things considered.

Laramie said he now is happy “to be able to live my life authentically.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.