Liquor Board Sets Hearing for City Bar Where Man Allegedly Exposed, Fondled Himself

A hearing will take place between the Haverhill License Commission and the owner of New Lantern Cafe. (File photograph)

Haverhill License Commissioners want to know if the owners of a downtown bar could have done more to stop a man from exposing and fondling himself in front of a woman and child.

Commissioners agreed Thursday the owner and manager of New Lantern Café, 246 Essex St., did not serve the man, but decided to schedule what is called a “show cause” hearing early next month to determine the pub’s future. Commission Chairman Joseph C. Edwards said the incident could have “easily been prevented.”

“I don’t like one thing about what I read here tonight and what I heard here tonight,” Edwards said. “I think it is a horrible situation. You have a little girl—who, probably if she saw any of this action, is too bad for her—something that could blemish her and cause her problems forever.”

Police arrested 72-year-old John O. Perrault of 29 Sawyer St., after the Friday, Aug. 31, early night incident in the rear, outside, smoking area behind the bar. Perrault was charged with open and gross lewdness, according to the day’s arrest log.

Haverhill Police Capt. Robert P. Pistone testified that, when police arrived, Perrault appeared “unsteady on his feet, (with) slurred speech, glassy eyes and his breath smelled of an alcoholic beverage.”

Clirim Rustani, who was managing the bar, said Perrault was present only for five minutes and was not served. However, Perrault managed to exit the back door where there is an informal smoking area. He said he learned Perrault allegedly exposed himself to an adult woman and “a little girl on the other side of the tent.” Rustani said the woman called police herself before he had a chance to pick up the telephone.

Commissioner Gerald A. Sewell said he doesn’t recall an incident of this severity occurring during his time on the board.

A hearing is expected to take place Thursday, Nov. 1.