Greenfield pastor pleads guilty to assaulting teen girl he was counseling

WMUR-TV, ABC-9 [Manchester NH]

April 20, 2022

By Tim Callery

Christopher Lawton faces sentence of several years in prison

A pastor from Greenfield who provided Christian counseling has pleaded guilty to dozens of counts of sexual assaulting a teenage girl.

Christopher Lawton was indicted by a grand jury on charges of sexually assaulting a child under the age of 18. He is now facing several years in prison.

Lawton entered guilty pleas Wednesday afternoon to more than a dozen counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault. According to court documents, between February 2015 and June 2016, Lawton sexually assaulted a teenage girl he was counseling.

The victim was older than 13 and younger than 18 at the time, prosecutors said. Officials said Lawton was providing pastoral counseling to the victim and used his power of authority to coerce her into sexual acts on at least 16 different occasions.

“They occurred in the home. They occurred in cars,” Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Patrick Ives said. “But they all occurred while the defendant had a counseling relationship with (the victim) and while he was in a position of authority over her.”

Prosecutors have asked for seven to 15 years in prison. If he completes a sex offender treatment program, he could be released in five years. He will also have to register as a sex offender.

Sentencing is set for early June.