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Journal describes angry outburst by state senator

October 2, 2018

HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) — Court documents in the case of a New Hampshire state senator charged with domestic violence include journal entries in which he describes violent outbursts and remorse over his behavior.

Democrat Jeff Woodburn, of Whitefield, pleaded not guilty in August to nine charges including simple assault, domestic violence and criminal mischief stemming from the encounters that took place both last year and this year. He is accused of slapping an unidentified woman and punching her in the stomach, as well as biting her once on the hand, and on another occasion, on the forearm.

Woodburn, who is in his third term in the Senate, is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and previously served one term in the House. He stepped down from his position as Senate minority leader after his arrest, but he declined to resign. After beating back a challenge from a write-in candidate in the primary, Woodburn will face Republican David Starr of Franconia in the November election. His trial is set for Dec. 17.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party urged him to resign, as did the state’s Democratic congressional delegation and members of the state Senate Democratic Caucus. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu tweeted that the allegations were “morally reprehensible” and also said Woodburn should step down.

In a police report released Tuesday after The Berlin Sun sued, investigators said a review of the journal “corroborate the victim’s account.”

In passages from the journal from Aug. 12, 2017, and Dec. 25, 2017, Woodburn wrote that he argued with the woman and kicked in a locked door at her room on one occasion and kicked the door off the clothes dryer another time. He wrote that he felt bad about his actions and pledged to get his anger under control.

“It’s so embarrassing-upsetting. It just keeps repeating itself in my brain ... 52-years-old I need to grow up,” he wrote after kicking in the woman’s door. “I risk so much and hurt people who I should be loving.”

As part of the police report, the woman also provided authorities text exchanges the woman had with a friend. In those exchanges, the friend said the woman should not assume they were still together “after he destroys your dryer door, throws water and a cup in your face and you don’t hear from him for a week.” In another exchange, the friend tells the woman she is not going to like a Facebook photo Woodburn put up because she could “see the bruise on your wrist and leg that he put there.”

In another text exchange with a friend, the woman suggests she was bitten by Woodburn and that she had been bitten before and that “it takes a while to heal.” She also acknowledged being embarrassed after her mom noticed she had been bruised.

Woodburn’s lawyer Donna Brown wouldn’t comment on the journal entries.

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