PORTLAND (AP) – Two Cumberland County Jail inmates allegedly beat up a man they suspected of contaminating jail food with feces.

Michael McGraw, 21, and Stephen Beale, 38, face simple assault charges for the Saturday attack on minimum security inmate William Lunt, 40.

Lunt sustained cuts, bruises and swelling and was treated in the jail infirmary. He has been moved to York County Jail. McGraw and Beale are now in maximum security.

“Even the trustees have turned on each other,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. “In the prison culture this is a serious assault in terms of the contamination of the food.”

When it comes to deciding guilt, he said, “Their evidentiary standard is a lot lower than ours.”

On Aug. 27 an inmate in a medium security pod discovered feces in the chili given to him on his lunch tray.

The lunches are prepared in the kitchen by a crew of 14 trustees overseen by kitchen staff, served onto trays and then taken to the housing units where they are distributed randomly.

Jail officials suspended the 14 trustees on that crew from kitchen duty and investigators collected DNA samples from each one to be matched against the feces, which was sent to the state crime lab.

Lunt was a kitchen worker the day of the incident. Inmate suspicion likely centered on Lunt because of problems he’s had with other inmates during his incarceration, Dion said.

Health inspectors for Portland and the state re-examined the jail’s kitchen facilities Tuesday and gave them high marks for cleanliness.

AP-ES-09-03-03 0216EDT

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