A registered sex offender did not break the law by hiring a 16-year-old boy to work for his landscaping business, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled Friday.

Edward Proctor was convicted in 2017 under a law prohibiting certain sex offenders from undertaking employment or volunteer services involving the care, instruction or guidance of children. According to court documents, he hired the teen in February 2016 for snow removal work and again in May 2016, driving him to job sites for weeding, mulching and other landscape work. He was arrested after the boy’s mother typed Proctor’s name into an online sex offender registry database.

Proctor, who is serving a three- to six-year prison sentence, appealed his conviction, arguing that the law prohibits accepting certain types of employment, not providing employment. The high court did not weigh in on that argument but agreed with his second argument that the law, which specifically mentions jobs such as teacher, coach and camp counselor, only prohibits activity that inherently involves children.

The court reversed Proctor’s conviction and sent the case back to the lower court.


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