The tax farm of New London will be held responsible instead.
New London, NH — New London’s former Police chief David Seastrand will not face any charges for using his authority to intimidate an 18-year-old college student into taking nude photos for him in exchange for dropping her underage alcohol charges.
The incident began on March 2, 2013, as Westfall was headed home from a party. Seastrant stopped the teen for carrying a can of beer. Westfall was subsequently charged with giving a false name and for being in possession of a beer can.
According to the Union Leader, four days later, Seastrand called her to the police station. The former chief told Westfall he needed to meet with her alone, and began discussing alternative measures of punishment, like community service, for the misdemeanors.
Westfall, who worked frequently as a babysitter, and who was planning to major in early childhood education, said she grew more scared.
Seastrand explained, she said, that they would go into the basement. “He said he would grab the station’s camera to shoot a series of nude photos of me, and then he’d hold it over my head for two years to be sure I didn’t commit another crime,” Westfall said.
“That’s when it was really chilling,” she said. “He’s standing there in uniform, he had his gun strapped on his side,” said Janelle Westfall recounting the horror of having a police officer intimidating her asking her to take lewd photos for him.
Seastrand then told Westfall that if she told anyone, he would deny it all.
As soon as she left the station she told her family. She told her uncle and her aunt, who were both police officers, who advised her to write down everything she remembered, while her father called the state police.
Westfall is now speaking public on this nightmare for the first time, saying that the state laws have failed her.
Perhaps even more disturbing than the actual act of Seastrand soliciting the nude photos from the young woman to ‘fix’ her charges, is the fact that the state didn’t see anything wrong with it.
State prosecutors, while calling Seastrand’s actions “abhorrent behavior and unacceptable behavior for anyone in that type of a position,” did not file criminal charges against him.
Prosecutors explained that the only law applicable to the case was the abuse of power statute, under which 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.”
So to recap, in New Hampshire, a cop can attempt to use his authority, supposedly granted to him by the people, to try and force people to carry out his sick and twisted fantasies and the most he will face is a misdemeanor. However, in the case of Seastrand, he will not even face that much.
Westfall was obviously upset with the decision. “I was hurt, I was hoping for more than that,” she said. “I was ready to testify in court, though the thought of that freaked me out, even being in the same room with him again would creep me out.”
Westfall did however, launch a civil suit against the New London police department, to which the tax payers were recently held liable, to the tune of $70,000.
As for Seastrand, the 27-year veteran simply retired and will likely keep his pension.