Police Records Detail Student’s Arrest by New London Chief

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
New London — The Colby-Sawyer College student who accused former New London Police Chief David Seastrand of asking her to model nude in exchange for leniency was arrested while walking down the road alone and intoxicated, according to public records and officials.

The student, identified in police log and court records as Janelle Westfall, 18, of Alexandria, N.H., pleaded not guilty in Newport Circuit Court last week to two charges, underage possession of alcohol and providing false information to authorities, according to court documents.

Westfall allegedly had a 12-ounce can of Bud Light and provided a false name and date of birth when arrested by Seastrand on March 3, according to court documents.

Seastrand filed the complaints against Westfall in court, weeks before he resigned in an agreement with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, which was investigating Westfall’s complaint that the chief had offered to drop the case if Westfall posed nude for a series of pictures.

Westfall could not be reached for comment yesterday. Her attorney, Rick Lehmann of Concord, declined to discuss the charges against her.

“She’s a good kid from a good family and will make a trustworthy witness,” said Lehmann, who has worked as a prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office and the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office, and serves as the legal counsel for the New Hampshire Senate.

A trial on the criminal charges against Westfall is scheduled for June. Lehmann said that Westfall is also likely to file a lawsuit based on Seastrand’s conduct.

Meanwhile, Acting Police Chief Edward Andersen yesterday provided additional information about events that led to Seastrand arresting Westfall.

Lehmann has previously noted that Seastrand was not in uniform and was driving an unmarked car when he arrested Westfall, while other Colby-Sawyer students were arrested that night by uniformed officers.

“My client was picked out and arrested in an unusual way,” Lehmann told the Valley News last week.

Andersen yesterday said there was nothing “unusual” about that initial encounter.

Seastrand did not single Westfall out, Andersen said, but rather came across her after being called to respond to another incident.

Around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 3, a police officer requested backup off County Road after a suspect in handcuffs fled police, according to police documents.

In an interview, Andersen said that officers had been called to a disturbance and tried to take multiple people into custody when one of them, a male, ran off as he was being handcuffed.

Seastrand, who was home on call that night, responded in civilian clothes in an unmarked cruiser that he had taken home, Andersen said.

“You jump out with the clothes you have on,” Andersen said. “He was called to assist.”

Police records indicate that officers left the scene where the suspect had fled at 2 a.m.

Nine minutes later, records indicate, Seastrand arrested Westfall .

Andersen said that, as Seastrand drove home, he encountered an “intoxicated” Westfall on County Road, near Knights Hill Park, and pulled over to investigate.

“He was just trying to get home, and the girl is intoxicated in the middle of the road,” Andersen said.

Andersen, a Sunapee native who serves as the Goshen police chief, has been a member of the New London Police Department since 1992, and has been a full-time officer since 1998.

Andersen said the department was surprised to learn yesterday that additional complaints have been made to the Attorney General’s Office against Seastrand. He said no one had contacted the police department with additional allegations.

“No complaints, nothing,” Andersen said. “We’ll have to wait and see. We don’t have any knowledge of them.”

He said that Seastrand has long been planning to retire and had started preparing Andersen for Town Meeting duty in May.

“It seems sudden, but it’s not,” Andersen said. “He’s been getting ready, he was putting me in a place to handle it. Emotions are high right now; he’s been an excellent leader.”

Seastrand could not be reached for comment yesterday.

In an interview, Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said her office continues to investigate additional complaints that have been made since news of Seastrand’s resignation became public last Thursday.

“We have additional complaints and we will fully investigate them,” Young said.

Additionally, Lehmann said that he has also been contacted by multiple women who made additional complaints against Seastrand, but he declined to provide details.

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

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