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Randolph man pleads not guilty to molesting children, filming houseguests in bathroom

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/22/2020 9:16:52 PM
Modified: 5/22/2020 9:16:40 PM

CHELSEA — A 62-year-old Randolph man has pleaded not guilty to accusations he sexually assaulted two children and secretly recorded several children and adults in his home, according to court documents.

Michael Hartigan was arraigned last week in Orange Superior Court on two felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, two felony counts of promotion of child pornography, and two misdemeanor counts of voyeurism. Superior Court Judge Thomas Zonay ordered him held without bail following the arraignment.

The charges stem from a monthslong investigation that started in December, when investigators with the Vermont Attorney General’s Office received a tip about a sexually explicit photo of a child under the age of 13 uploaded to a website early last year, according to an affidavit filed last week by Detective Matthew Raymond, commander of the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Investigators learned the photo was uploaded from Hartigan’s computer at his home in Randolph, but when they went to speak with him, Hartigan initially denied knowing anything about the image, the affidavit said.

Officers searched the home and Hartigan’s computer, where they found almost 30 videos of adults and children whom Hartigan knew using the bathroom, according to the affidavit. When they questioned him again, Hartigan said he had set up a secret pinhole camera in his bathroom to record people without their knowledge, according to the affidavit.

Investigators initially cited him with the voyeurism and child pornography charges related to the videos.

In early May they revisited the case after two women whom Hartigan had allegedly recorded said he had also sexually assaulted them when they were children, according to a second affidavit Raymond filed this week.

One woman told police Hartigan had sexually assaulted her multiple times when she was younger than 13 years old, and then through her teenage years, the affidavit said.

Another woman told police Hartigan started sexually assaulting her when she was under 13, and that the assaults continued into adulthood, according to the affidavit. She said he sexually assaulted her at least 100 times while she was a child, and occasionally took sexually explicit photographs and recordings of her, according to investigators.

In early May one of the victims agreed to speak with Hartigan on a recorded line to help the investigation. During their conversation, Hartigan said he’d thrown the recordings and photos of her into a bonfire to destroy them, and asked her not to tell police about the assault, the affidavit said. Officers arrested Hartigan outside his home just before his arraignment on May 14.

Hartigan moved to Vermont with his wife in 1980 and worked in sales and technical service at Woodstock Soapstone Co. in West Lebanon, according to a post on his high school website in Fairhaven, Mass.

Thomas Morrissey, president of Woodstock Soapstone Co. said in an email Friday he knows little about the arrest but that Hartigan no longer works for the company. He said during his time working there, Hartigan did not have access to customers’ homes and did not pose any safety concern to customers.

“Everyone who knew him through work was completely stunned and blind-sided,” Morrissey wrote.

The Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case but declined to give any more information.

Anna Merriman can be reached at amerriman@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.




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