STONINGTON — A North Stonington man is due in court next week to answer charges that he had harassed Stephen Bessette, moderator of the Stonington Community Forum Facebook page, and Bessette's family.

The man, Margan Dean, 39, of 29 Clark Falls Road, was arrested Saturday. Stonington police charged him with one count of second-degree harassment. Dean was released on a promise to appear and was to be arraigned Jan. 16 in New London Superior Court.

According to the arrest affidavit, Bessette told the police on Nov. 21 that Dean had been using Facebook Messenger to contact him and his wife, using racist and sexually explicit language and images.

Police said that on Nov. 20, Dean, who was a member of the forum, posted critical statements of the moderators. "You moderators run a tight ship. Everyone get on the soapbox boxcar. NIEN!!! NOW!!!" Dean wrote. The affidavit did not provide context or background information that might have specified what Dean was referring to. 

The affidavit said that the moderator messaged Dean privately to let him know he was concerned that the message included anti-Semitic references. Dean responded with a deluge of swearing and insults that questioned Bessette's manhood and sexual orientation, as well as implying graphic and degrading sexual acts involving Bessette's wife. He also told Bessette that he wished he "would get leukemia," the affidavit said.

The following morning, Dean, in another message, suggested that he'd previously had a sexual encounter with one of Bessette's relatives, stating he would create a second account of Facebook to post "all the slobbering dripping details."

On Nov. 21, Dean also texted Bessette's wife directly, saying he was a friend of Bessette's and wanted to visit their home because he heard they were interested in selling. The text, which included Bessette's home phone number and address, also implied that Dean would stop by the next time he was in the neighborhood.

"I advised (Bessette) to block the Facebook profile of 'Morgan Dean' as well as 'Dorgan Mean,' which is another profile Dean was known to use," Stonington officer Christopher Murray wrote in the affidavit.

Murray spoke directly with Dean, calling the cellphone number that Dean had used to text Bessette's wife, and Dean said the comments were intended to be a joke. Dean also questioned a response on the forum in which Bessette posted about Dean being an anti-Semite, a post that was later removed following a request by police.

Dean challenged the grounds for an arrest, the affidavit said, and interrupted Murray several times before hanging up. Dean called back 15 minutes later and said he'd reviewed the harassment law in Connecticut and apologized, promising not to have any further contact with Bessette or his family.

Bessette, who started the social media group in 2014, is a former Stonington selectman, serving from August 2004 to November 2007.

The arrest was Dean's third since 2016, when he and a Stonington highway department employee Tim Keena were charged with assault after a brawl that occurred when Dean, a landscaper, drove his tractor over a freshly paved section of Prentice Williams Road. According to court records, the case was dropped after both men decided not to proceed with it.

Dean was also arrested in North Stonington in October 2018 on two counts of second-degree breach of peace and one count of third-degree criminal mischief. He was released on a $1,000 bond, case records show, and has requested a jury trial after pleading not guilty.

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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