Merrimack man facing trial on sex assault charges arrested in Florida

NASHUA – A Merrimack man, who fled the area before his trial on child sexual assault charges started this week, was caught Thursday, May 1, by U.S. Marshals.

This isn’t the first time Eric Cousens, 44, was less than cooperative, police said.

Police had asked the public for help finding Cousens prior to his arrest on the sexual assault charges last year.

On May 1, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Cousens in West Palm Beach, Fla., two days after he failed to appear at his trial at Hillsborough County Superior Court in Nashua, police said.

Cousens is accused of giving cocaine to a young child and then sexually assaulting the child in April 2013.

He is charged with aggravated felonious sexual assault, police said.

Merrimack police issued an arrest warrant for Cousens in mid-Apirl 2013 after they said they were not able to locate him on the sexual assault charges. They said Cousens knew police were looking for him, and his lawyer told police he was trying to raise money to pay his bail before his arrest. Cousens turned himself in to police later that week, police said.

After Cousens didn’t show up for his trial on Tuesday, May 6, police were alerted he may be near Palm Beach. U.S. Marshals there investigated and said they heard he may have fled the country, but they were able to find him at a hotel near Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach, police said. Marshals broke into the room when Cousens refused to come out, police said.

Cousens suffered an unspecified medical emergency while being transported to jail and was brought to a local hospital for treatment, police said.

Once he is discharged, Cousens will be held as a fugitive from justice and appear at a court hearing there pending his return to New Hampshire, police said.

Cousens has an extensive criminal history, including several arrests over the last dozen years, including simple assault, criminal threatening, false imprisonment and second-degree assault, and he was found guilty of driving while intoxicated.

Several of the simple assault charges were dropped, according to Telegraph archives.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).