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Colby-Sawyer To Send Letter About Scandal

Official Says School is Uncertain  If Additional Accusers Are Students

Janelle Westfall, 18, of Alexandria, N.H., in an undated photograph provided by her attorney.

Janelle Westfall, 18, of Alexandria, N.H., in an undated photograph provided by her attorney.

New London — Colby-Sawyer College are unsure whether any of other students have made complaints against former New London Police Chief David Seastrand since his resignation last week, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the college yesterday was preparing to send a letter to the campus community, reiterating its support for the 18-year-old student who reported Seastrand to the state and raising awareness of counseling and other resources available.

“What is most important in the college community is the knowledge that the safety and wellness of out students remains our top priority,” Colby Sawyer spokeswoman Kate Seamans said.

It’s been a week since the state Attorney General’s Office announced that an 18-year-old student had alleged that Seastrand offered her leniency on underage drinking charges last month if she agreed to pose for nude photographs.

The student, 18-year-old Janelle Westfall, of Alexandria, N.H., has met with school officials and remains determined to complete the academic year, Seamans said, despite the stress caused by the recent disclosure of her identity.

“She is hoping more than anything to go on with her daily life,” Seaman said. “She’s hoping she’s allowed to focus on her academics. She has talked to senior staff and feels supported.”

The letter, Seamans said, lists counseling and safety personnel that are available to students and staff.

“We are making resources known to any community members who have encountered inappropriate situations with anyone,” Seamans said. “We take harassment and assault of all kinds very seriously.”

Last week, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced that Seastrand had agreed to resign rather than face potential criminal charges stemming from a complaint filed by Westfall. She alleged that days after Seastrand arrested her for underage possession of alcohol and providing false information to police on March 3, the chief offered to drop the charges if she posed for a series of nude pictures for him.

In addition to resigning, Seastrand surrendered his police certification, meaning he can no longer work in law enforcement, but the Attorney General’s Office declined to say whether Seatrand admitted to the allegations of coercion.

Since Seastrand’s resignation, both the Attorney General’s Office and Westfall’s attorney, Rick Lehmann, said that other women had come forward with allegations against the 27-year law enforcement veteran. No additional details have been provided.

Seastrand did not respond to a message seeking comment, and his attorney, Nicholas Brodich of Concord, declined to comment yesterday.

Meanwhile, Kearsage Regional School District, where Seastrand served as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer for several years, has had no complaints about him, Superintendent Jerome Frew said yesterday.

“We never received any complaints or issues regarding him,” Frew said. “We never had any negative experiences with the chief.”

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.

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To the Editor: Your April 11 article titled “Colby-Sawyer To Send Letter About Scandal” by staff writer Mark Davis is an example of the victim-shaming reporting that a reputable newspaper should seek to avoid. Publicizing the personal information of a victim of alleged sexual harassment and coercion is lazy and negligent at best, and printing a victim’s photo next to …