A federal grand jury in Boston has indicted four men in connection with incidents of vandalism committed against journalists at New Hampshire Public Radio as part of a conspiracy to harass and intimidate them.
The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office announced the indictments Friday. Three of the men — Tucker Cockerline, Michael Waselchuck and Keenan Saniatan — were arrested and charged June 16 and remain in custody. The fourth defendant, Eric Labarge, was arrested Friday and was to appear in federal court Friday afternoon.
The defendants allegedly vandalized the homes of Lauren Chooljian, a senior reporter/producer for NHPR, and News Director Dan Barrick. They also targeted the home of Chooljian’s parents. According to the indictment, Labarge solicited Cockerline and Saniatan to vandalize the homes in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Cockerline is alleged to have recruited Waselchuck.
The men allegedly broke windows and spray-painted obscenities on the homes, as well as “JUST THE BEGINNING” on Chooljian’s home.
The incidents occurred in April and May 2022, after NHPR released an investigation by Chooljian of Eric Spofford, the founder of Granite Recovery Centers, a New Hampshire company that operates substance use disorder treatment centers. Chooljian’s article centered on “multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, abusive leadership, and retaliation” committed by Spofford when he led GRC. An attorney for Spofford denied the allegations.
The indictment alleges that Labarge is a “close personal associate” of Spofford.
Each charge in the indictment carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution.