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Roland Chretien

Other North Carolina Sexual Assault Exonerations
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In June 2003, a woman claimed that 44-year-old Ronald Chretien, the owner of Blazing Saddles, a Plaistow, New Hampshire motorcycle shop, had choked her and forced her to perform oral sex at the shop.

Chretien claimed that the sex was consensual.

In November, 2004, Chretien went to trial in Rockingham County Superior Court and chose to have a judge hear the case without a jury. The 46-year-old complainant identified Chretien as the man who assaulted her. She said he shoved her into a stockroom at the shop and forced her to perform oral sex after choking her when she resisted. When Chretien’s defense lawyer asked her if she had ever falsely accused another man of a similar sexual assault, the woman said she had not. Chretien’s lawyer was not allowed to pursue that line of questioning further.

The woman’s husband testified and denied that his wife ever had extra-marital affairs.

Chretien testified that the woman began making suggestive comments while she was shopping for a belt. He said she kissed him and began touching the front of his pants. When he opened the door to a stockroom, the woman walked in and he followed, Chretien said. The woman then pulled out his penis and performed oral sex. When the act was completed, she left the door, he said.

On November 10, 2004, In January 2005, Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh convicted Chretien of sexual assault. McHugh sentenced Chretien to 6-to-12 years in prison.

In 2006, the New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld his conviction. In 2007, Chretien filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus and an evidentiary hearing was scheduled for July 8, 2008. To spare the woman the embarrassment of testifying in open court, the lawyers for the prosecution and Chretien ultimately crafted an agreed statement based on the woman’s statements during an interview with the lawyers for the state.

She admitted that she had in fact falsely accused another man of choking her and forcing her to perform oral sex after meeting the man in a Longhorn Steakhouse near Plaistow. In that instance, the woman performed oral sex on the man in the restaurant parking lot.

The woman admitted that she later accused the man of choking her and forcing her to perform oral sex in the restaurant parking lot. She said she concocted the story because she did not want her son to think she was “a slut.”

The woman also admitted she was having a sexual affair with her son's roommate, and the sexual encounter with the man in the restaurant parking lot occurred the same night after the roommate refused to meet her at a motel and tried to end their affair.

She admitted that after she falsely reported to her son and the roommate that she had been sexually assaulted outside the steakhouse, the two men called the man whom the woman said assaulted her and threatened him with retaliation. In a later telephone conversation, however, the roommate told the man that the woman had changed her story and that criminal charges would not be pursued.

Based on the agreed statement that was submitted that day, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante orally granted Chretien’s habeas corpus petition, vacated his conviction and ordered a new trial. Chretien was released on bond pending a retrial.

In September 2008, Judge Laplante issued a written ruling. In October 2008, the prosecution dismissed the case.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 9/25/2017
State:New Hampshire
County:Rockingham
Most Serious Crime:Sexual Assault
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2003
Convicted:2004
Exonerated:2008
Sentence:6 to 12 years
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:44
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No