NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 29, 2014

Beating victim pleads guilty to charges

Maine man receives prison time

BRENTWOOD, N.H. — A Maine man, allegedly beaten by a Salem, N.H. officer, will spend a year in prison for the police chase that led to the apparent assault.

Thomas Templeton, 39, of 7 Prospect St. in York, was sentenced Thursday by Judge David Anderson in Rockingham Superior Court after pleading guilty to charges of reckless conduct and disobeying an officer.

As part of the plea agreement, Templeton also received a second one-year prison sentence deferred for a year on the condition of good behavior.

Templeton was charged with trying to avoid police Oct. 6 when they tried to stop him for speeding on Interstate 93 south. He continued to flee, traveling an estimated 80 mph to 90 mph through Salem until he was finally apprehended, police said.

His arrest received significant attention when Salem police Officer Joseph Freda was later charged with beating Templeton.

Freda, 33, was dismissed from the Salem police force following his arrest on two counts of simple assault for allegedly hitting Templeton in the head and groin while he was taken into custody.

Templeton suffered lacerations to his head. Freda also allegedly stepped on Templeton’s hand while he was handcuffed and on the ground, according to a report by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.

Freda reportedly told fellow officers he “whipped” Templeton with a flashlight and “whacked” him in the groin. A hearing on the two misdemeanor simple assault charges is scheduled for April 16 in 10th Circuit Court in Salem.

While officers pursued Templeton, he got off at Exit 1 in Salem and then sped down Veterans Memorial Parkway, police said. The pursuit ended a short time later when Templeton pulled into Salem Nissan on Main Street and fled. He was later found in some brush and arrested.

If convicted at trial, Templeton faced three and a half to seven years in prison if convicted of reckless conduct. The disobeying an officer charge, a misdemeanor, was punishable by up to a year in jail.

A third charge of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor, was not prosecuted in exchange for Templeton’s guilty plea.

Prosecutor Bradley Bolton said yesterday that Templeton was a first-time offender who received a fair sentence.

“He has a deferred sentence hanging over his head if he misbehaves,” Bolton said.

Templeton was represented by public defender Larissa Kiers, who could not be reached for comment.

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