AUBURN — A highly regarded officer whose job was to ensure that the Androscoggin County Jail complied with rules and regulations has been demoted for breaking the rules.
Daniel Levesque, who was the jail's compliance officer, was disciplined and reassigned for viewing "inappropriate content" on his work computer.
According to a request for disciplinary action sent from Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins to the three county commissioners in June, a full forensic review of Levesque's computer revealed activities that were legal but "most inappropriate in nature and in direct violation of our Computer Use Policy."
That policy states that "users must not intentionally seek or provide information to any site or organization that promotes violence or hate, that discriminates against any protected group or organization, or that displays inappropriate content."
Citing the incident as a confidential personnel matter, Desjardins declined to say what Levesque accessed on his computer, but the sheriff classified it as "totally inappropriate . . . usage of the Internet."
It was unclear when Levesque started viewing that content, though the letter from Desjardins to the commissioners advised that Levesque "admitted it was within the last six months."
With the approval of the county commissioners, Levesque was demoted at the end of June from sergeant to corrections officer and removed as the jail's compliance officer. That demotion included a $2 an hour pay cut. He was also placed on probation for 90 days, with required evaluations by his supervisor every 30 days.
Levesque declined to comment for this story.
As a compliance officer, he was responsible for making sure the jail adhered to state regulations and internal policies and procedures. Last September, Desjardins and Jail Administrator John Lebel credited Levesque for helping the jail earn a near-perfect score on its state inspection.
"It's an extremely important position," Desjardins said Tuesday. "The last couple of jail inspections, the reason that we got the grades that we got was because of our compliance officer. That's what made this so difficult."
The jail has since installed safeguards on its computer system to limit and control employees' Internet access. Desjardins estimated that system cost $1,500 to $1,600.
Levesque is the husband of Lisa Levesque, one of three former corrections officers who claimed they suffered harassment at the hands of a supervisor at the jail. Lisa Levesque unsuccessfully sued the county last fall, alleging that Desjardins and his second-in-command at the jail retaliated against her because she complained about a plan to move that supervisor to a day shift. Daniel Levesque testified on his wife's behalf.