Fall River’s City Council president has stepped down following criminal charges of harassment and witness intimidation for allegedly harassing the wife of a Westport man she told police she was having an affair with.

Pam Laliberte-Lebeau, who was first elected in 2015, had been facing mounting pressure from some of her fellow councilors to resign her leadership position. Councilor Laura Washington previously told GBH News that she would move to strip Laliberte-Lebeau of her presidency at Tuesday night’s city council meeting if she did not resign.

“I can tell you, many of my colleagues have lost faith in her leadership,” Washington said last Thursday. “And so we don't have the authority to ask her to resign from the council, but we have the authority to take a vote to remove her from the presidency while she's going through this."

Laliberte-Lebeau, who is scheduled to be arraigned next month according to Fall River Community Media, is accused of sending anonymous text and voicemail messages to the Westport woman over the course of several months, and initially misleading police when asked about the messages.

Laliberte-Lebeau did not attend Tuesday’s council meeting, but submitted a resignation letter that was read by City Clerk Alison Bouchard. In the letter, Laliberte-Lebeau wrote that the past few weeks have been an emotionally painful experience for her.

“I have never been accused of a crime before, but I am certain my experience would not be considered normal,” the letter read. “Having to patiently wait to tell the facts with the [police] report written as it was has been a struggle for me. Because while I value my privacy, I also believe the whole truth needs to be told, not just in the details of the case, but also the manner in which it was handled.

“This has been such a devastating experience for me personally that moving forward I know I will not be able to give the position of president the attention it deserves,” she continued.

Laliberte-Lebeau, who will remain on the council, requested that her colleagues select a new president at the meeting. Councilor Bradford Kilby called the move a courageous step.

“And I hope that everything works out with her and her family and her children. But at least it's out there that this action's been taken on her part,” he said. “And it will hopefully alleviate some stress on her. ... When she's back next meeting, we'll make a vote.”

The council opted to delay any vote on a new president until next week, citing a need for more public notice. Laliberte-Lebeau did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

Most of the public details of Laliberte-Lebeau’s case come from a Westport police report. Officers wrote that a Westport man told them that his wife had begun receiving harassing calls and messages in April. The report stated that the man and Laliberte-Lebeau had a business relationship where she would help him locate properties that were either foreclosed, abandoned or had a lien, and then he and his partner would purchase them.

In early August, a Westport detective was granted a search warrant for Laliberte-Lebeau’s cell phone.

Westport police then interviewed Laliberte-Lebeau and, according to the report, she admitted to making anonymous calls and sending anonymous texts over a few months using an app that disguises the originating phone number. The report says that Laliberte-Lebeau claimed another real estate co-worker also began an affair with the man, which made Laliberte-Lebeau jealous and she wanted to make his wife aware of his alleged infidelity.

The report also states that Laliberte-Lebeau’s internet history had a number of suspicious searches, including how much phone information police can trace, what constitutes harassment through text and if cyberbullying is a crime in Massachusetts.

The report also showed messages between Laliberte-Lebeau and another associate.

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An excerpt from the Westport police report shows texts exchanged by Laliberte-Lebeau and an associate.
Fall River District Court criminal clerk’s office

It’s the latest scandal to rock the political scene in Fall River. Last year, former mayor Jasiel Correia was sentenced in federal court to six years in prison after being found guilty on 21 counts of extortion and tax fraud. Correia had been accused of defrauding investors in a tech start-up and seeking bribes from marijuana vendors who wanted to do business in the city.

GBH News' Hannah Reale contributed reporting.