AG won’t file charges against former New London police chief
David Seastrand, the former New London police chief who left the department this spring amid accusations he had pressured a young woman to pose for nude photographs, will not be charged over complaints made by three additional women, the state attorney general’s office announced yesterday.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to obtain a conviction on the newer claims, which began surfacing the day after Seastrand resigned in early April.
“After thoroughly investigating each complaint, it was determined that the allegations, while disturbing, did not rise to the level of criminal conduct,” Young said. “Moreover each of the alleged instances involved actions by Seastrand in his personal capacity, and did not purport to be acts of his office.”
Seastrand resigned April 4 through a letter to the New London selectmen. Three days later, the attorney general’s office revealed he had agreed to relinquish his post and his police credentials after a woman, later identified as an 18-year-old freshman at Colby-Sawyer College, said Seastrand had offered to drop charges against her if she posed for nude pictures.
The woman had been arrested in early March and charged with underage drinking and giving the police a false name.
The attorney general’s office said at the time it would not bring criminal charges against Seastrand, given his departure. But it also said it had opened an investigation into new claims, which it declined to quantify or describe.
In her statement yesterday, Young began to outline those allegations, all of which were made by adult women. The first, she said, reported sexual contact with Seastrand while he was working as chief. The second said he had paid her speeding ticket with a check in exchange for her posing for him in lingerie. The third accused him of offering her cash in exchange for pictures of unspecified content, which she did not accept.
Young declined to specify when the alleged complaints occurred, but said they each predated the incident involving the Colby-Sawyer student by a matter of years. She said her department had considered in its investigation several potential criminal offenses, including, for instance, whether the ticket Seastrand allegedly paid off had been issued by his department or if he had committed any physical assaults.
The student’s attorney, Richard Lehmann, said yesterday that he was not surprised by the findings and planned to pursue litigation on the girl’s behalf, likely before the end of the year. He did not specify how many suits he planned to file but has said in the past his client was considering action against both Seastrand and the town.
Lehmann said he had been refraining from litigation until the attorney general’s office completed its investigation. He declined to say whether he was representing the other three complainants.
Seastrand’s attorney, Nicholas Brodich, could not be reached for comment.
At the time of his resignation, Seastrand had been with the department for 27 years, 17 of which he had served as chief. In his absence, the selectmen appointed longtime department member Ed Anderson as interim chief.
They are still searching for a permanent replacement, according to the town’s website. Neither Anderson nor New London selectmen Chairwoman Christina Helm could be reached for comment.
Seastrand is banned from ever re-entering the police force, Young said.
A review in June by the Merrimack County sheriff’s office handed down harsh criticism of the New London Police Department, finding it had updated only seven of nearly 60 policies since 2007. Town Administrator Kimberly Hallquist said in August that Anderson had begun updating the remaining rules.
(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM. Staff writer Megan Doyle contributed to this report.)