WASHOUGAL — The city of Washougal will have a new mayor at the end of this year.
Sean Guard, who has served as Washougal’s mayor for two terms, withdrew his name for re-election Monday. Guard’s decision came after a tumultuous week in which Washougal resident Glenn Kincaid made a series of Facebook posts he alleged were sexual conversations between Guard and a female area resident.
Det. Kate Tierney confirmed that the Washougal Police Department received a citizen’s complaint of potential harassment against Guard on May 17.
“The police department is in the early stages of this investigation to determine if any crimes were committed,’’ Tierney said in a Monday email to ClarkCountyToday.com. “Chief (Ron) Mitchell has requested an outside law enforcement agency take over the investigation. Once they’ve agreed, I can update you as to which agency that will be.’’
On Thursday, Tierney confirmed that the Washington State Patrol had taken over the investigation into the complaint against Guard.
In addition to Guard, Trianna Reed also withdrew her name from the race on Monday, leaving two candidates — Current Washougal councilor Dan Coursey and former Washougal councilor Molly Coston — to battle for the position in the November General Election.
It won’t be the first time Coursey and Coston have squared off for an elected position. Coursey defeated Coston in the race for Position 7 on the Washougal City Council in the November 2015 General Election.
Prior to Coursey’s victory two years ago, Coston had served on the council from June 2005 through 2011.
“I am very concerned that a group is trying to bring D.C. politics into Washougal; this only threatens our progress as a city,’’ Coston said in a Facebook post on May 19. “That’s why I’m running. I’m all about making Washougal an even better place to live, not about politics.’’
In a separate post on the same day, Coston said: “I filed for Mayor of Washougal today because I love Washougal. The City has made great progress in the last ten years; I’m proud to have been a part of that change as a City Councilor. As Mayor, I hope to continue that progress.’’
Coursey announced his filing on May 19, also on Facebook.
“In the past 60-days I have received a huge number of requests to run, so today I filed to run as Mayor of the City of Washougal,’’ Coursey wrote. “The same values I had when I ran for City Council two years ago are still dear to me. I love my community and simply think that we need a change in leadership. Change is good in that it reminds us that all things are possible. It is a good and healthy thing to periodically put a new pair of eyes on things.
“For me, I believe in limited, transparent, fiscally responsible government at all times,’’ Coursey said. “I believe in small, adequate government that serves the needs of the people, but doesn’t place an undue burden on them. As Washougal grows it is important that we build a sustainable infrastructure, with an eye to the future, while retaining our unique quality of life.’’
The alleged sexting scandal isn’t the first time Guard’s behavior has come into question. In 2011, Guard pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal impersonation of a police officer.
Guard was pulled over by a Washington State Patrol officer on Dec. 24, 2010 while traveling on I-5 near Kelso. The trooper was responding to a 9-1-1 call of a driver using emergency lights to bypass slowed traffic. Guard was ordered to pay a $500 fine and do 25 hours of community service.
Guard has not spoken publicly about the alleged harassment associated with Kincaid’s Facebook posts. He did communicate with supporters via a letter that was published on clarkcountypolitics.blogspot.com.
“It is obvious that this far right faction is desperate to get me out of office and they will do anything possible to do so,’’ Guard wrote. “Annie (wife) and I know the truth, however, as do so many of you. I bleed orange and black. I am Washougal through and through. I have spent the last 7+ years leading our community to greater heights and preparing it for the future. We have so many awesome opportunities in front of us thanks to the team and most of the council that is in place.
“Over the weekend these far-right zealots also began to attack my wife and people who have spoken publically (sic) in support of me; it has become more and more apparent that they won’t stop,’’ Guard said. “If they were attacking just me, I would fight this to the end, but when they start attacking family, the game changes.’’
Acting Clark County Manager Bob Stevens made a Facebook post on May 17 in support of Guard.
“So a little while back, Sean Guard made a rather cryptic post on FB that his character was being attacked and I didn’t understand,’’ Stevens wrote. “Finally, someone pointed me to what he was referencing. It instantly reminded me of the Clark County Innuendo days in it’s amateurish, over the top nonsense. The ‘evidence’ presented could have been created by anyone with a half wit’s knowledge of Adobe Pro. I’m not going to point to it here because I won’t give it an ounce of exposure. I saw it as an instant fake.
“The unfortunate news is that once people like Sean and myself are elevated to that legal realm of ‘public figure,’ we have to (sic) little to no recourse against this kind of attempted character assassination. It could happen to any of us on any given day, as it did in the ‘Innuendo’ days.
“That something so vile could be unleashed at (sic) at will against a long standing community leader who has always been at the forefront of his city, charities and civic duty has hit Sean a little hard. It would me too,’’ Stevens wrote. “We can’t let this kind of pure crap rule our future.’’
This story will be updated.