Ex-council president facing charges

01:00 AM EST on Friday, December 7, 2007

By Donita Naylor

Journal Staff Writer

NORTH KINGSTOWN — Former Town Council President Elizabeth Dolan faces domestic assault charges resulting from a late-November argument with her husband about an extramarital affair.

Elizabeth Dolan, 47, who serves on the Planning Commission and works part time for the state Labor Relations Board, is due in District Court, Wakefield, on Tuesday for a pretrial conference on three misdemeanor charges: domestic simple assault/battery, domestic vandalism/malicious injury to property and domestic disorderly conduct, all resulting from a Nov. 29 incident.

Police said Elizabeth Dolan hit her husband, broke his glasses and said she’d like to kill him. She was arraigned in District Court and released in her own recognizance that same morning.

“This really is a private marital issue that is currently being resolved within the family,” Elizabeth Dolan said yesterday after a story in the North Kingstown-East Greenwich Independent, a local weekly, brought the charges to light.

“What happened, happened,” she said. “I reacted badly to a bad set of information at a difficult point in my life.”

She said she had been caring for her mother, who died three weeks ago. She said that on Nov. 28, she was catching up with some paperwork and found bank statements that “confirmed my suspicions that a relationship had been taking place for quite some time.”

The Dolans, both lawyers, have been married 21 years. They have four children, two in college, ages 19 and 18, and two at home, ages 14 and 11, she said. “But for this one incident,” she said, “we’ve been a close, good, loving family.”

“This is one unfortunate incident, a personal and private one that we will resolve in everybody’s best interest,” she said.

“I behaved badly,” she said. “While I’m certainly hurt by what he has done, he’s a wonderful man.”

William M. Dolan, 48, a lawyer for Brown Rudnick, did not wish to give a statement to police or complete the domestic violence form, the police report said. He said yesterday he was not pressing charges, but he would be in court on Tuesday to support his wife.

“My wife’s the victim here, not me,” he said yesterday, declining to explain.

Saying they were “a loving and supporting family,” he refused to answer whether the third party was still in the picture.

“That’s a question that’s not fair and I’m not going to respond to,” he said.

Walter J. Lanni, chairman of the state Labor Relations Board, could not be reached yesterday. Richard Pastore, chairman of the North Kingstown Planning Commission, said Elizabeth Dolan’s facing misdemeanor charges would have “absolutely zero” effect on the board’s business. He said he had urged her to serve on the Planning Commission, where she had served before becoming Town Council president.

Pastore said both of the Dolans are highly respected, calling them “prominent, accomplished and well-educated people.”

He said Elizabeth Dolan was talked into running for the Town Council. She was the highest vote-getter in the election, even though she “came out of nowhere,” Pastore said.

She served on the Town Council from 2002 to 2004.

“I think the world of her,” Pastore said. “This is really a bad hand that life has dealt her.”

The North Kingstown police report says that when officers arrived at the family’s Cassandra Lane home, she was standing in front of the garage doors and he was locked inside his vehicle.

They had been arguing since the day before, when Elizabeth discovered bank statements indicating “where Mr. Dolan had been taking his girlfriend,” the report says.

They argued on the phone for a short time, the report said, again when he arrived home at 6 p.m., and again around 10 p.m., when “the argument got so heated that he felt that it would be in his and his children’s best interest to leave the residence for the night,” the report said.

He returned the next day at 5:30 a.m. to “quietly remove items,” the report said, but “Mrs. Dolan awoke and confronted him once again.”

Patrol Officer Daniel Silva wrote:

“Mrs. Dolan yanked the items Mr. Dolan had in his hand from him and threw them aside. Mrs. Dolan then came at Mr. Dolan and struck him in the face several times. Mr. Dolan then stated that he attempted to leave and Mrs. Dolan blocked him from going down the stairs. Mrs. Dolan then grabbed Mr. Dolan’s glasses off his face, twisted them and then stepped on them.

“Mr. Dolan then made his way downstairs, located a second pair of glasses and was going to leave the residence but Mrs. Dolan again blocked him from doing so.

“Mrs. Dolan then stated ‘I’d like to kill you’ and then opened the drawer that Mr. Dolan knew contained knives. Mr. Dolan then immediately fled the residence out the back door and got into his vehicle.

“Mrs. Dolan followed him outside and stepped in front of his vehicle and would not allow him to leave. Mr. Dolan stated that Mrs. Dolan did not have any weapons in her hands but she refused to let him leave so he then called 911.”

North Kingstown Police Capt. Charles Brennan said yesterday he had not issued a news release on the Nov. 29 incident, hoping to spare Elizabeth Dolan embarrassment, but he released the report when requested because it is a public record.

“I’ve always found her to be a very nice, calm woman,” Brennan said.

Police photographed William Dolan’s injuries, the lenses to the glasses valued at $200 and the contents of the kitchen drawer.

Silva reported that he “was able to smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her person.”


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