Diversion for Colby-Sawyer Student
Teen Accused Ex-Chief Of Soliciting Nude Photos
Newport — A Colby-Sawyer College student who has accused the former New London police chief of asking her to pose nude in exchange for dropped charges has been sent to a court diversion program and will likely avoid a criminal conviction.
Janelle Westfall, 19, of Alexandria, N.H., who said that former Police Chief David Seastrand offered leniency for a pending charge if she disrobed for him, has entered the Merrimack County Diversion Program, and, if she completes it, will see her criminal case dismissed later this year, according to Newport Circuit Court documents.
Westfall, who has no prior criminal record, was arrested on March 3 after allegedly walking on County Road alone and intoxicated, holding a 12 ounce can of Bud Light. She allegedly provided a false name and date of birth to Seastrand when arrested.
Assistant Merrimack County Attorney John Weld said in an interview yesterday that the offer of diversion was initially made by New London police, who handled Westfall’s arraignment. Weld, who said he typically handles misdemeanor cases after arraignments for New London, said he agreed with the diversion offer.
“It’s a typical resolution for this type of offense. It’s pretty routine for first-time offenders,” Weld said. “I can confirm that the offer was made prior to (Westfall’s allegations) coming out.”
Westfall’s attorney, Richard Lehmann of Concord, concurred.
“She will have no criminal conviction on her record,” Lehmann said. “Typically, (it's) seen as a good outcome.”
Westfall had pleaded not guilty to two charges: underage possession of alcohol and providing false information to authorities, according to court documents.
Shortly after her arrest, Westfall complained to state authorities about Seastrand’s alleged offer, and the veteran chief resigned in April as part of a negotiated deal with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office.
Meanwhile, Lehmann yesterday said that he still “anticipated,” filing litigation on behalf of Westfall against Seastrand, but is waiting for the Attorney General’s Office to announce its findings.
Lehmann yesterday said that inquiry was ongoing.
Senior Attorney General Jane Young could not be reached for comment yesterday, but indicated in mid-May that the investigation was several weeks from concluding.
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.