Sexual assault trial involving Granite Pathway victims begins

·3 min read

Jun. 2—Trial started Wednesday for the first of two defendants who face a slew of sex crime charges involving three teenage girls who walked away from the now-defunct Granite Pathways treatment center two years ago.

Manchester resident Chasrick Heredia, 27, faces six felony charges in connection with multiple sexual contacts with the girls. One was 16 at the time, and two others were 15. He is being tried in Hillsborough County Superior Court in Manchester.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Jonathan Cowal, told a jury that one of the three girls was so drunk she threw up and urinated on herself before the sexual encounters.

"Chasrick Heredia does what he wants, when he wants, without regard for people he hurts along the way," Cowal told the jury in opening statements.

The oldest of the girls was the leadoff witness. She began by recounting the events leading up to the alleged rape.

After she lost consciousness twice from her intoxication, two men carried her into a building, and she woke up on a couch to hear one of the other girls crying, she said.

"At first I thought she was laughing. I thought to myself, 'What possibly could be happening?'"

Prosecutors say the other two girls will testify.

This is not the first time Heredia has appeared in a Hillsborough County court on serious felony charges.

In 2019, he faced multiple assault and riot charges stemming from a brawl with police outside a cigar bar in downtown Manchester. A jury cleared him of serious charges, and the case started to collapse after evidence surfaced that two police officers who testified, including a victim of an alleged beating by Heredia, were dating.

Heredia agreed to a plea bargain that included two years of probation. The judge who freed him, Amy Messer, told him he had a chance to turn his life around.

Three months after he was released from jail, Heredia was arrested on the sexual assault charges. Messer is handling his current trial.

On Wednesday, Heredia's defense lawyer signaled that the girls, who were in a residential treatment center for teens with issues such as mental health and drug use, had troubled lives and that he will ask them hard questions to get at the truth.

Roger "Rusty" Chadwick also said the activity was consensual.

"You don't have to, I don't expect you to, approve of the activity you hear about. What it comes down to is, you have to follow the law," Chadwick said.

A second defendant in the case, Matthew Hugle, is expected to stand trial in August.

Granite Pathways operated its treatment center in one of the wings of the Sununu Youth Services Center. It did not lock its doors and had a no-contact, no-chase policy for teen patients who walked away.

The sexual assaults prompted Gov. Chris Sununu to order a review of the state contract with Granite Pathways. After several overdoses involving clients, Sununu rescinded the contract.

Health and Human Services spokesman Jake Leon said the state has replaced Granite Pathways by expanding services through current providers. It is also in the process of procuring services for adolescents, including psychiatric residential treatment and wrap-around services, with new providers.

Heredia also faces three delinquency charges for allegedly providing beer to the girls and felony charges of getting friends to delete a video of the encounters.