43-year old Getchell, of 8 Hoyt Lane in Hillsborough, was indicted in December on two counts of prohibition from child care service of persons convicted of certain offenses. He was convicted in 2000 of committing felonious sexual assault in Grafton County, and prohibited from any activities that bring him into contact with children.
One of the charges alleges Getchell was operating the ride for Miller Amusements and knowingly failed to tell the company about the past sexual assault conviction when he applied for the job. Another charge accuses him of willfully taking the job, despite the conviction.
Getchell's public defender, Mathew McNicoll, is asking the court to dismiss the felony charges, claiming that running a fair ride is not a violation. "Undertaking employment as a fair ride operator does not share the important characteristics that bind the statute's prohibited services: a ride operator is never alone with children and has nothing more than incidental contact with minors. A ride operator does not have any conceivable opportunity to exploit this incidental contact into sexual abuse..." McNicoll writes.
McNicoll argues that if the court agrees that Getchell broke the law when he took the job at the fair, then other sex offenders will struggle to find work and face homelessness, even when a conviction is 20 years old.