Parents of chief's accuser praise her
NEW LONDON - The parents of the 18-year-old woman who has accused former Police Chief David Seastrand of asking her to pose nude in exchange for dropping charges issued a public statement Thursday praising their daughter for courage in accusing the former chief.
Through their lawyer, Attorney Richard Lehmann of Douglas, Leonard, and Garvey in Concord, Todd and Cynthia Westfall of Bridgewater issued a statement supporting their daughter, Janelle Westfall, a Colby-Sawyer College student.
"We are extremely proud of Janelle's courage in coming forward during such a frightening situation," they said in the statement. "Her concern from the beginning was to prevent this from happening to others."
Seastrand resigned on April 4 as part of a negotiated agreement with the Attorney General's Office after an investigation into his actions on March 6, the day that Janelle Westfall claims he asked her to pose nude for photos in exchange for having her charges dropped.
Westfall was arrested for underage alcohol possession and giving a false name to police, according to her lawyer, who said he will be filing a civil suit on her behalf against the chief in the days ahead.
Seastrand, 50, who had announced his retirement to the town on April 1 without giving a reason, has not spoken publicly since his departure from town, where he served as chief since 1995 and was a police officer since 1986.
His attorney, Nicholas Brodich of Tarbell and Brodich in Concord, has said his client does not want to "try" the case alleged by Westfall in the news media, and said Seastrand would not speak on the matter at present.
The Attorney General's Office said at least four women have come forward since Seastrand's resignation with complaints about his conduct, and authorities are now investigating those claims.
On April 5, with full knowledge of news accounts of the attorney general's investigation and Seastrand's resignation, the town's selectmen issued a public statement of support for Seastrand.
"Chief Seastrand has indicated that due to an investigation undertaken by the state Attorney General's Office, he is unable to give his full focus to his duties as chief . The selectmen reiterate their strong support for Chief Seastrand and appreciation for his service to the town of New London for the past 27 years," the statement said.
In their statement Thursday, Westfall's parents were thankful for support their daughter has received.
"We are thankful for the support she is receiving from the great number of those that know, love and respect her as well as from a great number of strangers from across the country.
They said their daughter was home-schooled for five years through the accredited Central Christian Academy where she graduated with a 4.0 grade point average. "Over the years she had the opportunity to volunteer many times in her community working with young children," they said.