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December 17, 2012

Salem official to resign after conviction

McDougall found guilty, apologizes for 'mistake'


“In the moment, I may have been too harsh and for that I apologize to public safety officials who were there that night,” McDougall said yesterday.

It’s the first time McDougall has acknowledged any wrongdoing. Until yesterday, he had steadfastly refused to step down from the two boards and just as adamantly vowed to fight the charge. His demeanor in the courtroom last week mirrored his previous stance.

At one point during the trial, Sullivan warned him he would be removed from the courtroom after he spoke during testimony from firefighter Bradley Palmer.

“That’s a lie,” McDougall said in the courtroom, prompting the judge’s warning.

The court clerk also complained about the noise McDougall was making shuffling papers and Sullivan had to excuse him for a few minutes after McDougall’s coughing grew loud. McDougall apologized for that and for the paper shuffling in court.

But yesterday McDougall acknowledged he had made a mistake, offered an apology and vowed to move forward.

“I’m a peaceful person. I just want to serve my community and do what I can to help others,” he said. “I hope others will have some consideration and respect for me. I decided it was time to stand up and accept responsibility, and ask for forgiveness.”

He said he needs to focus on his family, on parenting his son and resolving his financial issues. He works part time as a videographer. He acknowledged the conviction might not help him get a job.

“I know a misdemeanor conviction makes it harder,” he said. “I’m hoping someone will acknowledge that it’s not the most severest of crimes and will give me a chance. I think everyone deserves a second chance.”

He spoke repeatedly of the need for “resolution” and “closure.” He also acknowledged some members of the community had expressed the desire to see the town move forward without a board member’s personal problems interfering with municipal business.

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