Jasper: Appointing Rep With Assault Conviction to Crime Committee Was Quid Pro Quo

Dec 21, 2016

House speaker Shawn Jasper and state rep Frank Sapareto

House Speaker Shawn Jasper stands by his decision to appoint Rep. Frank Sapareto as Vice Chair of the Criminal Justice Committee. 

Sapareto’s past criminal record has raised complaints about the appointment. 

In 2013 Sapareto was convicted of assaulting two people during a domestic dispute involving his former girlfriend and her son. 

The Republican lawmaker from Derry has also proposed legislation to reduce the number of assault cases heard by the state’s courts.

This has caused many to raise concerns about the decision to put Sapareto in a leadership position on the very committee that helps shape the state’s criminal policies.

But Speaker Jasper says the appointment will remain. 

“Representative Sapareto has served honorably in the House and in the Senate. I know he is capable of serving with impartiality," Jasper said Wednesday in his office. "He doesn’t have any bills in on this matter, and I think there is a long back story with what happened with him, and I have confidence that he will act appropriately as he always has when serving in the legislature.”

Jasper said he promised Sapareto the position after Sapareto agreed to support Jasper during last month’s tight race for Speaker of the House.

This is something House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff says is disturbing and frankly disappointing.  

"It seems somewhat crass to actually trade a vote for the speakership," Shurtleff said Wednesday at the State House. "To put somebody with a criminal record on the criminal justice committee just goes beyond the pale." 

Last year Jasper removed former Republican Rep. Max Abramson from the same committee after learning he was convicted of a gun-related felony in 2012.