Patricia G. Conway, County Attorney
10 Route 125
Brentwood, NH 03833
For Immediate Release
Friday, July 27, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Rockingham County Attorney Reiterates Support for Victims of Sexual Abuse
County Attorney Conway Urges Support for Victims of Sexual Assault Amid Backlash Over Guidance Counselor Supporters
BRENTWOOD — Rockingham County Attorney Patricia G. Conway is today reiterating her support for victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse, and she urges others to do so as well, following the sentencing of former Exeter High School guidance counselor who sexually assaulted a 14-year-old high school student.
KRISTIE TORBICK, AGE 39, OF LEE, pleaded guilty on July 9 at Rockingham County Superior Court for sexually assaulting a student at the school where she was employed. Judge Andrew Schulman sentenced TORBICK to serve 2 1/2 to five years in New Hampshire State Prison with an additional 7-14 year sentence suspended for 10 years.
At the sentencing hearing, TORBICK submitted a memorandum containing statements of support from several individuals, including school guidance counselors, practicing mental health clinicians, professors, doctors, lawyers and other professionals who by virtue of their roles in society put them in a position of supporting and protecting children.
Some, but not all of these individuals, spoke on the defendant’s behalf even after hearing the state’s offer of proof regarding the crimes and the victim’s statement on how these assaults have seriously impacted his life. The victim sat and listened, mere feet away, while each professional stood up and spoke of the admirable characteristics of TORBICK and suggested that the victim was in some way responsible for the abuse that was perpetrated at the hands of the defendant.
“This defendant chose to break the law and perpetrate crimes against a child. The defendant sexually abused a child. The defendant was in a position of authority and influence over children and used that to commit crimes,” County Attorney Conway said. “The victim of sexual abuse is blameless. His courage in reporting these assaults and participating in the prosecution is to be commended. Any suggestion to the contrary from witnesses for the defense and colleagues of the defendant are not only factually inaccurate, but they could discourage other children from coming forward after they are victimized by adults in positions of authority.”
County Attorney Conway adds that this case should serve as a reminder that there needs to be an increase in understanding and awareness surrounding the detrimental effects of victim blaming and lack of support for child victims of sexual assault.
It is the hope of the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office that the citizens of New Hampshire take this opportunity to become aware of the prevalence of sexual assault in communities and stand up to support all victims so that this sort of situation can be prevented in the future.