Finance Committee member clashes with Rumford police over alcohol charge

RUMFORD — A Finance Committee member charged with providing a place for a minor to drink alcohol on Sunday night has since accused police of specifically targeting her when she sought help resolving a domestic altercation.

Police say otherwise.

Early Sunday evening, Sgt. David Bean summoned Jennifer Norris, 37, on a charge of furnishing a place for a minor to consume alcohol. She will be arraigned on April 6 in Rumford District Court.

“I reached out for help and I got slammed,” Norris said Tuesday.

According to three police reports generated by Bean and Sgt. Tracey Higley about the 7:42 p.m. call, Norris complained that she had been assaulted by her husband, Lee Norris, and wanted him out of their house.

“Of course, he wasn't there at the time,” Cpl. Doug Maifeld said on Tuesday, reading from the reports. “We don't have the right to eject a spouse unless he or she is arrested for (something illegal).”

Lee Norris is awaiting jury trial next month in Oxford County Superior Court in Paris stemming from his arrest on Nov. 29 on charges of domestic violence assault against Jennifer Norris, and for preventing her from reporting the incident to police.

When Higley and Bean arrived outside the Norris home, they were met by Lee Norris' young son, who told them that Jennifer had been yelling and screaming at the father, Lee, but that he hadn't assaulted her, Maifeld said.

Higley then spoke with Chelsea Santos, 20, of Bourne, Mass., described by Maifeld as a friend of Jennifer's.

Chelsea “admitted she had been drinking alcohol, and Jennifer claimed she didn't know she was drinking, but (Chelsea) said she was drinking while sitting right next to Jennifer on the couch,” Maifeld said.

Based on that admission, Jennifer Norris was summoned, Maifeld said.

Lee Norris, who left beer in the residence, told police he wasn't aware that Santos was drinking it.

“Lee admitted he was outside and that's why he wasn't charged with furnishing,” Maifeld said.

Higley summoned Santos on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia, but not on possession of alcohol by a minor. She will be arraigned on April 6 in Rumford.

Maifeld and police Chief Stacy Carter said they didn't know why Higley didn't also charge Santos with alcohol possession. Higley was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

Carter said his department isn't out to get Jennifer Norris.

“We are not targeting her or any other member of the community,” he said. “She called us and we responded to a complaint. During the investigation, probable cause was determined that she furnished a place for a minor to consume, and I am expecting the district attorney to charge her.”

“She hasn't done anything on the (Finance Committee) to bring attention to herself," Carter said. "We just responded to a complaint we received."

Contacted Tuesday, Jennifer Norris said she called Rumford police for help with her husband, a 17-year Air Force veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“They got here and Officer Higley turned everything around on me and, like, made me out to be the one that was the criminal as soon as he came through the door,” Jennifer Norris said.

She acknowledged that she and her husband got into an argument that became tense and that Santos got into her husband's beer.

“I had nothing to do with any of it," Norris said. "I don't even drink.”

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Ms. Santos, I appreciate your

Ms. Santos, I appreciate your defending Jen but I must ask if you care about her so much, why would you put her in this situation with such thoughtless behavior?  Look in the mirror girl and start there.  This began with your own actions.  To make it worse for Jen, and it sounds like she has enough on her hands with her spouse, you are spouting all about it in the paper...how does that help her? Just sayin'...

 's picture

Before everyone gets their

Before everyone gets their panties in a bunch over this issue let looks at some realistic out comes.  One she was wrong for looking the other way when the 20 year old was drinking in her home.  She deserved the summons no doubt about that.  One thing people need to realize just because you are a potential victim of a crime does not mean the police will look the other way for your transgressions.  With that said, any liberal Maine judge will throw this summons out.  Lee should have also been charged not only for providing the alcohol but for violating conditions of release stemming from the previous domestic violence case.  I believe there was a no contact order in place, meaning he can't have contact with the victim.  In the laws eyes it doesn't matter if Jen let him back in, he was still violating that condition and they are in place and inforced to protect victims, even if those victims fail to protect themselves.  Second the RPD went for a more serious charge with the minor then comsuming alcohol.  With the pot at the residence they would have had proable cause to search the house or at least secure it and apply for a search warrant.  With Jens history and posts on her many blogs and social media pages I would not be surprised if they found more in the house.  They also could have taken her to jail for the night instead of doing whats called a paper arrest.  So yes Jen they were cutting you some breaks, ligthen up a little.  Bottom line is this charge will be thrown out and Jen will feel vindicated, brag about it for weeks, and used it every time she feels she was treated unfairly by any police department.  So does it really seem plausable to either side to argue this much about it?

 's picture

“I had nothing to do with any

“I had nothing to do with any of it," Norris said. "I don't even drink.”

Yet on her facebook she said,wow i an getting drunk!!and a few other things !

 's picture

fairandliar you should know

fairandliar you should know cops are required to carry voice recorders on their person during contacts.  I would consider what statements you are making now, as most likely then can be proven right or wrong.

 's picture

You don't have to drink to

You don't have to drink to provide alcohol to a minor dummy!  I used to get people to buy it for me when I was still a minor in the military.  It sounds like she "shot herself in the foot" like others cases of "domestic violence"!  Jail her!

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