Restraining order filed against Sunapee chief
NEWPORT — The Sunapee man whose charges were dropped in an email tampering case has filed for a restraining order against Sunapee Police Chief David Cahill. Among the complaints listed in Joseph Furlong’s request for the restraining order are allegations that Cahill coerced him into falsely admitting that he altered an email originally sent by then-school board candidate Janice Bettencourt.
In February 2017, Furlong was charged with two counts of giving false reports to law enforcement, three counts of forgery and two counts of false documents, names or endorsements charges after a 2016 incident involving the altering of an email allegedly targeting Bettencourt. At the time of the incident, Furlong’s wife, Heather Furlong was running against Bettencourt, April Royce and Brian Garland for a school board seat.
In March 2016, Sunapee police received reports that an email Bettencourt had sent to her friend had been altered and forwarded to residents in an attempt to smear her’s and Royce’s reputations ahead of the school board elections. Heather Furlong would end up winning the election. Cahill headed an investigation into the alleged misconduct.
Joseph Furlong became involved in the investigation after Royce’s husband, Tanner Royce, reported that Furlong had mentioned that his friend may have intercepted the original email and altered it. In later conversations with Tanner Royce, Furlong alleged that Adam Gaw was responsible for the email, Furlong’s arrest affidavit said.
A few days after the investigation began, Sunapee police received an email from the same address that sent out the altered email. The author of the email claimed to be Gaw and claimed responsibility for the email. Later in the investigation, affidavits said, Furlong stated to Karin Spanos, a Sunapee resident who received the original email, that he sent the altered email, but he later texted her to tell her that Gaw was responsible.
Gaw had been identified in the investigation in 2016, however, investigators “felt that Mr. Gaw was a “person” created by the defendant to divert responsibility for the alleged misconduct.”
Charges were filed against Furlong on Feb. 28, 2017 — only two days before the time limit lapsed after which they would not have been prosecutable. Shortly after the charges were announced against her husband, Heather Furlong resigned from her seat on the school board.
Three counts of forgery charges and two counts of false documents, names or endorsement were also brought against Adam Gaw, who allegedly contacted Sunapee police to take responsibility for the alleged misconduct.
After further investigation, on July 11, the state nolle prossed the charges against Furlong and brought three new charges: principal accomplice to two counts of false documents, names or endorsements and principal accomplice of forgery.
The defense moved to dismiss the case due to the change in nature of the charges, an order that was granted by a judge on Aug. 22 citing the statute of limitations. But the prosecution on Aug. 31 requested that the court reconsider the ruling to dismiss the case.
According to the argument for the reconsideration, RSA 625:8, VI (b) provides the “the period of limitations does not run: during any time when a prosecution is ending against the accused in this state based on the same conduct.”
Additionally, prosecutors cited RSA 626:8, I that provides that “a person is guilty of an offense if it is committed by his own conduct or by the conduct of another person for which he is legally accountable, or both.”
The newer charges brought upon Furlong were based upon the same conduct as the previous initial charges, the motion to reconsider states, but the second set of charges alleges both principal and accomplice liability.
On Aug. 28, Furlong filed for a restraining order against Cahill. According to the complaint, on March 7, 2016 Cahill “came to my house accusing me of sending an alleged altered e-mail. He told me that if I admit to sending it he will ‘make this problem all go away.’”
Furlong’s complaint also alleges that Cahill said if Furlong didn’t claim responsibility for the email, he would make his life “very hard.” According to the complaint, Cahill did not investigate his any claims that Tanner and April Royce and Spanos “came to our house earlier unannounced making threats against me and my family, and that they would not leave even after me repeatedly telling them too.”
“Dave silenced me several times as I tried to provide him with witnesses to prove my innocence,” Furlong said in the complaint. “Dave wouldn’t take my information or my witness contact information.”
Furthermore, the complaint alleges that Jeff Dietel, a Texas resident with property in Sunapee, told Furlong that he “was friends with Dave Cahill and that he had a group of people that would make sure we would be run out of town.”
Furlong was allegedly asked to provide an insurance quote for Dietel’s home repair after Dietel claimed that the property was vandalized. The insurance company, Furlong said in his complaint, said that the damages to the house were the result of “years of neglect.”
“At one point, Jeff asked me if I would meet with the insurance agents to help confirm his house was checked on for the prior year to help get his claim. When I refused he then asked if I would tell the insurance agents that his daughter Bonnie was checking on the house regularly. I met with insurance agents but refused to comment on Bonnie because I didn’t know.”
Dietel allegedly became harassing and threatening towards Furlong, the complaint said, and he later told Furlong in a phone conversation that he had contacted Cahill to “take revenge for him.” Furlong said he was fearful of making a report to Cahill about Dietel.
Over the course of the initial investigation into Furlong’s involvement in the email incident, “Adam Gaw is reported as a figment of my imagination,” Furlong said. And on March 7, 2017 when Gaw recorded an interview with police, Cahill “intensely pressured Adam to implicate me in a crime.”
Later, on March 13, Cahill allegedly confronted Heather Furlong at her house. And on March 20, Furlong said, after Heather Furlong allegedly reported feeling “extorted from the school board,” Cahill told her that “this is about ‘an eye for an eye’” and that “’everyone sees’ that she is a bad person.”
“My witnesses, my innocence and my rights have been suppressed by Dave,” Joseph Furlong said. “This creates a constant state of fear for me because I live in the town where Dave Cahill is the Chief of Police. Since I was arrested, my life has been filled with fear and misery, and I am now asking for protection for me and my wife from Dave Cahill.”