Elliot “Alu” Axelman, Good Man Wrongfully Accused

On May 1st, Tony Schinella published an article on Patch.com reporting an accusation made by Francesca Potenza of Rochester against Elliot “Alu” Axelman. Schinella did not attempt to obtain a comment from Axelman or his attorney, which is standard practice in journalism. The article only told one side of the story and suffered from a number of inaccuracies. This will correct the record. 

The accusation was made by Francesca Potenza, a very troubled teenage girl in August 2023. She allegedly told her parents that she suddenly remembered that Axelman assaulted her in June 2022, 14 months earlier. According to her claims, the assault occurred on Saturday evening June 25 on the main field at Porcfest. Those who attend the annual event know that the field is always very populated, especially on Saturday evening; the culmination of the week-long festival. There were hundreds of people on the small field at the time the fictional incident occurred. Every year at Porcfest everyone in attendance goes to that field to take a group picture. Potenza, who was 14 years old in June 2022 according to court records, claims that Axelman physically restrained her and tried to kiss her as she struggled. She also claims that he touched her in inappropriate ways during the assault before she broke free and ran away. No one has publicly claimed to witness this happening although the field was crawling with people as you can see in the photo of the group picture taken during this time at Porcfest every year. She reported the fabricated assault 14 months later, in August of 2023. 

An Example of the Porcfest group picture. This one is 2017.


The allegation is preposterous on its face for numerous reasons:


  1. In August 2023, the Potenza’s first told Axelman of the accusation via a classic extortion scheme, which is a felony. Peter Potenza, the father of Francesca, asked Axelman to meet him for coffee. Another individual joined Peter and ambushed Axelman with the allegation. They told the 30 year old paramedic that they would call the police and have him arrested on the spot at the coffee shop unless he agreed to sign a document agreeing to pay the Potenza’s $20,000. Feeling that his life and freedom were threatened, and knowing that no document signed under coercion/extortion would be legally binding, Axelman signed and left the coffee shop as soon as he could. He then called several lawyers and friends in law enforcement to ask how he should proceed.
  2. There is zero chance that an assault could have occurred on the field on Saturday evening without others seeing and hearing it. As there were surely dozens of armed libertarians at that spot at the time, any man who sexually assaulted a girl would likely have been shot by at least some of the libertarians. Yet, nobody on Earth saw or heard any such incident on the field that night.
  3. Francesca was drinking alcohol and ingesting cannabis and possibly other drugs on June 25, 2022, according to sources, who says they are prepared to testify to this under oath. 
  4. Francesca suffers from anxiety, depression, anorexia, bulimia, and has suicidal ideation and has made plans to kill herself, according to sources willing to testify under oath. 
  5. After the fictional incident in June 2022, Francesca voluntarily accompanied her mother to at least three public events which she knew or reasonably should have known that Axelman would attend (due to being liberty events in his neighborhood). Upon arriving at each event, Kelley Potenza (Francesca’s mother and a State Representative) and Francesca approached Axelman, said hello, and they each gave him a hug, according to witnesses. There is substantial evidence that Francesca had no fear or negative feelings toward Axelman throughout 2022 and 2023 until this idea popped into her head.
  6. Francesca was desperate for attention and likely used this accusation as a means to attain it. According to sources close to him, she told Axelman at the 2022 event that she felt terribly deprived of attention from her parents because they always worked and never had time for her. 
  7. After saying this in June 2022, Francesca’s sister’s anorexia and bulimia reportedly worsened. She was hospitalized in critical condition and was fed via tubes and IVs for an extended period of time at specialized pediatric hospitals. This further diverted attention away from Francesca and toward her sister in a massive way. The little bit of time that her parents did have for her were now spent speaking with doctors, insurances, therapists, and driving hours away to hospitals to bring and visit her elder daughter. It’s understandable that this caused terrible stress for all members of the family. Francesca likely received the biggest reduction in attention and likely received the least sympathy from relatives and friends, despite her watching her sister (practically her twin) suffering and possibly dying. 
  8. No report was made by Potenza or any other person to Porcfest management, the police, the PorcRangers (event security) or Free Aid (event medical) at any time during or after the festival.
  9. The Potenza parents spent the next few days harassing Axelman by phone and demanding that he comply with the “contract” that he signed. After realizing that Axelman had no intention of doing so, they called the police to file a restraining order against Axelman and began working to convince a prosecutor to bring charges against Axelman. 
  10.  Francesca’s affidavits contradict each other and contain falsehoods, which is perjury. 
  11.  The Potenzas then committed defamation by spreading falsehoods to others in the community in an attempt to destroy Axelman’s excellent reputation. 
  12.  Axelman has never been accused of assault, violence, or any impropriety in his life. 
  13.  As a critical care and flight-certified paramedic in numerous states and an instructor and FTO in medicine, Axelman has passed numerous federal and state background checks. As a paramedic, he is authorized to carry and administer controlled substances such as fentanyl and lorazepam to critical patients and places advanced airways, IVs, and conducts numerous other advanced procedures. His 12-year record in EMS is impeccable. 
  14.  Alu has never been violent or harmed another person in his life. He teaches men, women, and children self-defense (including a free self-defense clinic at Porcfest) so that everyone could be prepared to defend themselves from any kind of attack. He is a very strong advocate for people to fight back and never let themselves be victimized. 
  15.  An accomplished practitioner and instructor of BJJ/grappling, there is roughly a 0% chance that a person like Francesca could have escaped the grasp of Axelman if he were restraining her, which is what Francesca claims she did. 
  16.  Francesca alleged in her affidavits that Axelman was very drunk and smelled of alcohol at the time of the assault. This is extremely unlikely. No witnesses saw him touch alcohol that night and he is not known to be a drinker. He also drove home from Lancaster that evening, which is a two hour drive in dark mountains. He then reported to duty at 8 am for his 24-hour shift on the ambulance without incident. 
  17.  The article mentions that Axelman’s lawyer withdrew from his case. This is not entirely accurate, as Axelman fired him and found a better lawyer, who now represents him.
  18.  The article mentions that bail conditions were amended by the judge. This is true; the judge loosened the bail conditions substantially at a recent hearing, including restoring Axelman’s right to own and carry firearms. 
  19.  The seven charges are all misdemeanors and all stem from the one fictional incident, which would only be one crime (and not 7) if they were factual. 
  20.  According to a source willing to testify under oath, Francesca is seemingly extremely troubled psychologically and in her short life of 14 years, she made at least one similar accusation of sexual assault by an older male, which was also apparently unsubstantiated.  
  21. The article says that Axelman was released on $5,000 bail, which is not exactly accurate. After turning himself into the police, he was released on his personal recognizance without having to pay bail. 
  22. While around 99% of the New Hampshire community recognizes that the allegation is ridiculous, a few of Potenza’s closest friends have supported them and conspired to defame Axelman. One example is Leah Cushman, who is also a State Rep. She spread falsehoods about Axelman assaulting young girls and began spreading the fabricated rumor that Axelman was a drunk who beat his wife violently, according to sources. On one occasion, Cushman sent Mrs. Axelman a barrage of texts and called her numerous times, to the point of harassment. She demanded that Kate Axelman call her to prove she was safe. After Kate responded that she was totally safe, Cushman frantically contacted Kate’s friends that she found on Instagram and other platforms to tell them to check on Kate to make sure she’s safe. Cushman shared the Patch article in the group chats for people to see. Cushman acted as if Mrs. Axelman was in imminent danger and contacted her and her friends in harassing fashion, purportedly to make sure that she was safe. 
  23. Others have engaged in even more flagrant false defamation, and those lawsuits will likely begin after this case concludes. 


Kelley Potenza, State Rep and mother of the accuser

Kelley Potenza, State Rep and mother of the accuser

Interestingly, Free State Project board members have seemingly presumed Axelman to be guilty. Carla Gericke, de facto chairman of the board, implied on Twitter that Axelman is guilty long before a trial. She also banned him from FSP events, of which he was a major part (deputy director of EMS at Porcfest). Incoming executive director of the FSP, Eric Brakey has not responded to Axelman’s numerous requests over the past few months for clarification of the ban and the due process procedures used by the FSP. The board has not published minutes to their board meetings.

As Free Staters, I believe it is important to not act like the state. Always remember to presume someone is innocent until proof is shown that they are guilty. An accusation is not the same thing as proof. People who do not understand those basic things about freedom and ask real libertarians to come live in community with them, will fail.



Now you can subscribe to Free Keene via email!

Don't miss a single post!

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x