April 09. 2013 5:09PM

Special treatment: Letting a police chief walk

Suppose a college student went to the police and reported that her professor had offered to raise her "F" to an "A" if she posed nude for him. Suppose also that the police discussed the allegations with the professor, and he agreed to resign his job in exchange for not being charged with a crime. It is hard to imagine that the police would accept such a deal rather than continue the investigation to see whether other students had similar stories, or whether photos of nude students were, perhaps, lying around the professor's apartment somewhere. Now switch "professor" to "police chief," and you get an entirely different story.

A Colby-Sawyer College student told the New Hampshire Attorney General's office that on March 6 New London Police Chief David Seastrand offered to drop underage alcohol possession charges against her if she would let him take nude photos of her. Last week, the AG's office announced that it had negotiated Seastrand's resignation from the force and there would be no charges. What an outrage.

To no one's surprise, "several" women have come forward since the story of Seastrand and the college student broke last week, according to the AG's office. They have reported similar stories. Now, finally, there is an extended criminal investigation. It should not have taken this long.

There were no charges at first because it was a "he said, she said" situation with no witnesses, according to the AG's office. Who believes that? The chief should have been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, with the attorney general announcing the reason and asking for anyone with information about the case to come forward.

Instead, the AG's office, which is supposed to protect the public, let Seastrand walk without bothering to find out if other women out there had similar stories. That is exactly how to discourage victims of sexual harassment from coming forward - and to embolden perverts in positions of authority to act on their impulses.