standing Courts

Morgan S. Dean of North Stonington, accused of harassing the moderator of the Stonington Community Forum, is heading to trial on that case while he awaits action on other charges in Rhode Island and recently succeeded in getting an unrelated Connecticut case dismissed.

After a judge's ruling on Oct. 15, the harassment case has been added to the trial list for scheduling, but has yet to be formally added to the court dockets

Dean, 39, of 29 Clarks Falls Road, was charged in January with second-degree harassment as a result of complaints made in November 2018 by Stephen Bessette, a former Stonington selectman and moderator of the community forum page on Facebook. According to police, Dean was accused of sending threatening messages via Facebook and text to Bessette, and of contacting Bessette's wife under false pretenses in what police described as an effort to gain access to their home.

Court records show that Dean, who is representing himself, requested a speedy trial on the charge, a misdemeanor.

Another Connecticut case against Dean, stemming from an October 2018 dispute with a neighbor, has been dismissed. At a hearing last week scheduled ahead of anticipated jury selection, the judge dismissed two counts of second-degree breach of peace and one count of third-degree criminal mischief.  Dean had pleaded not guilty late last year and was prepared to represent himself pro se at that trial as well.

"I requested a speedy trial and there was evidence that I did not believe I had received, so I filed a motion to dismiss," Dean said. "The judge questioned the prosecutors and decided it was warranted to dismiss the case."

It was the second time in recent years that charges against Dean were dropped. In 2016, Dean and 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.

The case was dismissed after both men decided not to proceed with their complaints.

Dean is also facing a number of charges in Rhode Island related to confrontations with a Westerly man. According to the police, Dean, using his high beams, signaled to the man to pull over on Route 3 in Ashaway. The police said he assaulted the man and took his cellphone. Westerly police said he went to the man's home the following day and harassed him and family members, including a brother and daughter.

Dean was initially charged in Hopkinton with simple assault or battery and larceny from a person. In Westerly, he was charged with simple assault or battery, disorderly conduct, and two counts of intimidating a witness, a felony.

After reviewing the charges, the Rhode Island Office of the Attorney determined that the incident did not rise to the level of witness intimidation and dismissed the felony charges.

Dean has already pleaded not guilty to the assault, larceny, and disorderly conduct charges. Those cases remain active and Dean is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial conference in November, according to court records.

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