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Prosecutors say former police chief's conduct 'abhorrent ' but not criminal

New Hampshire Union Leader

December 09. 2013 10:59PM


The former New London police chief — who quit after a local college student said he asked to photograph her nude in exchange for dropping a charge — will not face criminal charges or any further discipline stemming from complaints filed by three other women.

New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster announced Monday the investigation of David Seastrand's activities determined the new allegations, "while disturbing," did not rise to the level of criminal conduct and each allegedly happened when Seastrand was acting "in his personal capacity."

"I will tell you that it's abhorrent behavior and unacceptable behavior for anyone in that type of a position," Associate Attorney General Jane E. Young said.

"It was imperative that we get him out of office to ensure that he will never serve as a police officer again," Young added.

Seastrand, then 50, resigned as police chief and surrendered his certification as a police officer on April 4 in a negotiated agreement he reached with the Attorney General's Office following a criminal investigation into the college student's complaint.

Janelle Westfall, then an 18-year-old Colby-Sawyer College student from Alexandria, told the Attorney General's Office March 6 that Seastrand offered to drop charges against her of underage alcohol possession and giving a false name if she would let him take nude photos of her. She said Seastrand made the offer while the two were at the police station.

The agreement Seastrand reached with the state on April 4 concluded the investigation with no criminal charges. It permanently bars Seastrand from working as a police officer.

The Attorney General's Office learned the next day three other adult women filed complaints against Seastrand. A second investigation was launched.

That inquiry did not produce evidence that would support bringing criminal charges under the state's abuse of office statute (RSA 643:1), Young said.

The first woman said she had sexual contact with Seastrand while "he was working as chief of the New London Police," Foster said in a statement.

The second woman said Seastrand paid her speeding ticket with a check — believed to be a money order — in exchange for her posing for him in lingerie.

The third woman said Seastrand offered her cash in exchange for taking photos of her. She refused.

The three women are adults, were not in police custody, and their actions were consensual, Young said. None are identified.

While some of the alleged actions occurred while Seastrand was on duty or in uniform, they did not involve an action in his official capacity as police chief, Young said.

Under the abuse of power statute (RSA 643:1), a public official is guilty of a misdemeanor if he or she knowingly commits an unauthorized act "which purports to be an act of his office" or "knowingly refrains from performing a duty imposed on him by law or clearly inherent in the nature of his office." The official must act with a "purpose to benefit himself or another or to harm another" in order to be found guilty.

The New London Police Department had no comment Monday.

Seastrand has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. Neither selectman nor the town's administrative assistant could be reached for comment Monday night.

Concord attorney Richard Lehmann, who represents Westfall in a pending civil suit, also could not be reached for comment.

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