Judge dismisses restraining order filed against New Ipswich official 

  • Alan Doyle, a member of the New Ipswich Budget Committee, testifies in court on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. A judge ruled to dismiss a restraining order filed by a New Ipswich town employee against Doyle in a decision handed down on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. (Abby Kessler / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Abby Kessler—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, February 26, 2018 5:53PM

A domestic violence or stalking order lodged against a town official was dismissed by a judge late last week. 

The restraining order was filed by a town employee against Alan Doyle, who is a member of the town’s budget committee, earlier this month. The Ledger-Transcript’s policy refrains from naming victims in certain cases.

The woman claimed that Doyle lifted up the back of her shirt twice during a meeting at the Town Hall on Dec. 5. The woman testified in court that Doyle said he was “just peeking” the first time he lifted her shirt, and that the second time he was “gawking.” Doyle denied lifting the woman’s shirt up the first time, but admitted to flicking it up the second time while making the comment “woo, woo.”

The woman reported the incident to Town Administrator Joanne Meshna a day after it happened. An investigation was launched into the matter, which concluded that Doyle had violated a town sexual harassment policy laid out in an employee handbook. The town sent a letter to Doyle that asked him to make an appointment before showing up at the Town Hall. The woman said Doyle showed up to the town office on a number of occasions without an appointment after the incident, which caused her to fear for her safety. Doyle said he never agreed to the request made in the letter.

A hearing to decide whether or not the order would remain in place was held over the course of two days, first at district court in Jaffrey on Friday, Feb. 16, and then in district court in Keene on Wednesday. Judge Erin B. McIntyre extended the order twice while the hearing proceeded, but dismissed it in a final ruling that came down on Friday.

A court document says McIntyre dismissed the matter after giving “significant weight” to the testimony of Ronald Stanley, who was an acquaintance of both parties.

Stanley, who is a longtime New Ipswich resident, testified in court on February 16. He told the court that he knows both parties involved in the case through their work at the town. Stanley said during a Board of Selectmen’s meeting in November 2017 that he saw the woman walk up to Doyle and give him a hug and “a little peck on the cheek.” Stanley said he was sitting five or six feet away from Doyle at the time. He said he didn’t hear anything they said during the exchange.

The woman testified after Stanley gave testimony that she had never kissed Doyle. The woman’s attorney, Joseph S. Hoppock, argued that Doyle wasn’t listed in the meeting minutes as attending the meeting.

None of the parties involved in the case, including the woman who filed the order, her attorney, Doyle, or his attorney, returned phone calls made by the Ledger-Transcript by deadline on Monday. The Ledger also left a message for Meshna, but that call wasn’t returned by deadline either. 

The judge wrote in a final order of dismissal that it found Stanley’s statements “to be compelling” and caused the court to question the woman’s credibility.

The court concluded the woman “failed to meet her burden” of proof in the case. The document reads that the woman wasn’t stalked as defined under a state statute.

Doyle’s Budget Committee position is elected. He is up for reelection and running unopposed.