Sheriff's candidate's bid ended by sexy photos of wife
June 10, 2010
OSSIPEE — A candidate for Carroll County Sheriff has dropped out of the primary race after sexy photos of his wife surfaced online. Meanwhile, the incumbent and one of his supporters, who happens to be the Carroll County's Republican Committee Chair, deny involvement in an alleged smear campaign.
Last week, Francis Lord, of Ossipee, bowed out of the sheriff's race after it became public knowledge that his wife, Kathy Lord, a retired New Hampshire state trooper had been posing for an adult Web site. Francis Lord, a native of West Ossipee, retired from the N.H. State Police in 1999 after completing a 20-year career.
In a written statement, Francis Lord wrote that he needed to drop out in order to do what's best for the Republican Party and Carroll County because the flap would "distract from real issues." A political race shouldn't be about families, he added.
"Would I be less of a candidate if I had a family member with mental issues, a handicapped child, or a relative with an addiction?" wrote Lord. "To have anyone stoop so low as to pick on a woman who chose to be adventurous is unacceptable, malicious, and in my opinion a means of drawing attention away from another's performance and speaks volumes about the perpetrator's character."
Further, Lord alleges the information was actually taken off their computer while damage from a "serious computer virus" was being repaired. Since the computer was worked on, the Lords have been getting e-mails carbon copied to names that Lord says he recognizes but does not deal with.
"I believe her information was stolen and forwarded to individuals to create this smear," wrote Francis Lord. "I also know she kept records of her modeling and is fully aware of the local person who joined her site. Persons responsible for illegally distributing her content, which has exclusive rights and protected against illegal reproduction, shall be dealt with accordingly."
In a terse statement, incumbent Sheriff Chris Conley denied any involvement in a smear against Lord, whom he narrowly beat in the Republican primary of 2008.
"I've got nothing to do with this," said Conley adding that the Sheriff's Office is a "values based organization."
One of Conley's supporters, Carroll County Republican Committee Chair Luke Freudenberg said he'd object to being labeled a "perpetrator" — if that was Lord's intention. But Freudenberg said he purchased access to Kathy Lord's site in order to understand what she was up to. Freudenberg volunteered to help Conley with his 2008 campaign and broke party bylaws in April by endorsing Conley. However, Freudenberg denied being a part of a "smear campaign."
"This is not about smearing anybody," said Freudenberg, of Wolfeboro. "They made a conscious decision to put their private life on the World Wide Web. There's no argument that someone shouldn't have found it."
Freudenberg said he learned of the photos about four weeks ago, when a man he described as an "activist in Republican politics who isn't a law enforcement officer or an elected official," came to him and said 'there's something you need to know about Kathy Lord on the web.' The activist said his friend discovered the photos while looking for information about Irish Games. Instead, he discovered an adult Web site and Kathy Lord's pseudonym. The Web site was called "Southern Charms." The Web site allows models to share videos and dialog with clients, said Freudenberg.
An Internet search revealed that Kathy Lord's photos can be found on more than one Web site.
Freudenberg confirmed the activist's claims. Particularly concerning to him was the idea that the Democrats already possessed information about the photos — which could damage Lord's ability to win in a general election or if he won, his credibility in office.
"Pornography and politics don't mix," said Freudenberg. "From a law enforcement perspective how can you be involved in a questionable behavior?"
Both Freudenberg and Francis Lord have said that Kathy Lord did nothing illegal during her modeling escapade.
So, Freudenberg said he purchased access to the Web site for 30 days. The Web site had been last updated May 10 and Freudenberg said it appears that Kathy Lord was still involved with it at that point. The day after Freudenberg purchased access to the Web site, Kathy Lord's information disappeared from it.
"Me not being a computer genius, I didn't realize when I provided my credit card information they were actually providing that to the model," said. "Now they knew that I knew… I was seriously hoping that this would take care of itself as a party issue."
Freudenberg said he sat on the issue and never shared the information with Conley — but did say he reached out to a few people to get some advice. Freudenberg also said he never told Francis Lord to leave the race.
Francis Lord stated that his wife was approached to do the modeling while on a tropical vacation. She agreed to participate in the "totally legal endeavor" as a "lark" under the condition that her real name not be used. She agreed to cease her involvement in modeling when he decided to run for office.
Francis Lord concluded his statement by apologizing for any discomfort this issue may have caused.
Anyone wishing to run for county sheriff or any other state office needs to file with the New Hampshire Secretary of State's office by tomorrow, June 11.
Freudenberg said he wouldn't rescind his endorsement of Conley.