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.”