ROCHESTER - As he has many times in the past, Doug Lachance is running for public office in the city of Rochester.
But this time, it's different.
He's not only running against Skip Gilman, his opponent for a Ward One Seat A seat; he's running against the backdrop of controversy surrounding the resurfacing earlier this year of a sexual assault case involving a then 16-year-old boy during Lachance's tenure as Rochester mayor in 2001, a controversy that was stirred up last spring by "folks that didn't want him running for mayor," one well-connected political operative from the city told The Rochester Voice.
The resurfacing of the charges made by a Colorado man now in his mid-30s, who formerly lived in Rochester, were investigated in 2007, but charges were not filed because the alleged victim in the case didn't want to testify.
The case was reopened by the Strafford County Attorney's Office in the fall of 2020 but closed once again after the primary complainant in the case said he could no longer recollect the events of 2001 as he had in the 2007 probe, possibly due to "problematic drinking."
Undeterred by the accusations and his forced resignation amid the imbroglio, Lachance filed for a City Council seat. And while not citing specifics, Lachance recently told The Rochester Voice that he has some unfinished business before he calls it a political day.
"I am running because I want to make sure that all the initiatives begun over the last two years to rebuild our downtown don't get undone," he told The Voice. "I believe there's a small window of opportunity that we cannot let slip by."
Lachance also said it was very gratifying to be part of the progress the city has made in recent years.
"I feel like we have made great strides and I was proud to be part of that," he said. "But there are a few building blocks left that are not yet fully in place that I want to see to fruition."