Man charged with sexual assault of girl

MERRIMACK – Police have charged a Derry man with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl last weekend during the late-night hours of her family member’s birthday party.

Erik K. Crawford, 25, of 125 Walnut Hill Road, turned himself in on a warrant to the Merrimack Police Department on Thursday night at about 8 p.m., said Detective Joseph Goodridge.

Crawford was arraigned in district court Friday on eight charges: one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, three counts of felonious sexual assault, three counts of simple assault and one count of attempted felonious sexual as assault.

In an affidavit filed in Merrimack District Court, Goodridge said he responded to Wasserman Park on Tuesday to speak to a camper who had reported the alleged assaults to two counselors.

The girl told the counselors that on July 26 she was attending a party for a family member in town. At 1:30 a.m., she said Crawford – who was invited as a friend of a relative – awakened her in bed and sexually assaulted her. The girl reported that he left, but came back a number of times, the affidavit said. She was finally able to get a friend to stay in her room, and Crawford didn’t come back.

Later that day, police interviewed Crawford at the police station. He said he went to the party but didn’t remember much because he was intoxicated. Crawford later admitted to assaulting the girl, the affidavit said. Crawford told police he thought she might be 15 years old.

On Wednesday, police officers attended an interview at the Child Advocacy Center in Nashua. The girl provided more information about the alleged incident, which led police to charge Crawford with the one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault.

Crawford, who according to court papers is single, unemployed and has lived in Derry for 20 years, was released on $30,000 cash or surety. He has been ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim and surrender his passport.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled in Merrimack District Court for Thursday.