BOSTON – A New Hampshire man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to his role in a conspiracy to harass and intimidate a journalist employed by New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) and the journalist’s parents.
Michael Waselchuck, 36, of Seabrook, N.H., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit stalking through interstate travel and the use of a facility of interstate commerce before U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani who scheduled sentencing for May 10, 2024. Waselchuck was arrested and charged by criminal complaint in June 2023 along with co-conspirators Tucker Cockerline and Keenan Saniatan. The defendants were subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury along with Eric Labarge in September 2023. Cockerline previously pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy in December 2023.
According to the charging documents, an NHPR journalist (Victim 1) published an article in March 2022 detailing allegations of sexual and other misconduct by a former New Hampshire businessperson, identified in the charging document as Subject 1. Another NHPR journalist (Victim 2) also contributed to the article, which appeared on NHPR’s website during and after March 2022. In response to this reporting, Labarge — who is alleged to be a close personal associate of Subject 1 — Saniatan, Cockerline and Waselchuck allegedly agreed to harass and intimidate Victims 1 and 2 and their immediate family members. Among other things, the indictment alleges that:
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. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Concord, Hampstead and Hanover, New Hampshire Police Departments, the Melrose, Massachusetts Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason A. Casey and Torey B. Cummings of the Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.