PARIS — Michael Belanger, a former Rumford police officer, pleaded guilty Friday to one count of criminal threatening with a weapon in a case involving a fellow officer.

The plea was entered in Oxford County Superior Court. 

According to a yearlong deferred disposition agreement, he may be able to withdraw his plea and have the case dismissed. He is scheduled to appear in court in July 2014.

In December, a grand jury indicted Belanger on one count of criminal threatening, one count of reckless conduct and one count of threatening display of a weapon, for an incident that occurred on or about June 1, 2012.

The two other charges have been dismissed. 

District Attorney Joseph O’Connor, referencing a Maine Attorney General’s investigation into the complaint, told Justice Thomas Warren that Belanger pointed a loaded firearm at fellow Rumford officer Joseph Sage on three occasions.

Belanger is a member of the National Guard Reserve and was deployed to Iraq in 2010. After returning to his job after deployment, a personality conflict developed between himself and Sage, O’Connor said.

A Sun Journal article from December 2012 reports that Sage was hired for the Rumford department in October 2010. 

Sage reported feeling threatened by Belanger to police Chief Stacy Carter and a Maine Attorney General’s Office investigation into the allegations was conducted by Detective James Gioia beginning in August 2012, O’Connor said. 

According to O’Connor, referencing the report, the threatening behavior was witnessed by another officer. Belanger said he was “kidding around” when he pointed the handgun at Sage, but Sage did not feel safe, O’Connor said. 

Belanger left the Rumford Police Department in November 2012, and Sage left soon after, reportedly for a position with the Livermore Falls Police Department. 

During the sentencing Friday, neither Belanger nor his lawyer, Caleigh Keevan, contested the facts of the case as presented by O’Connor. 

According to the deferred disposition agreement, Belanger is to notify the DA’s office within 96 hours if he is arrested or questioned by law enforcement, advise the court of any change of address or telephone number and pay an administrative fee of $20 per month. 

Belanger is also required to undergo a psychological evaluation and complete counseling.

In court Friday, O’Connor reported that Belanger had received an evaluation and completed counseling to the satisfaction of the DA’s office.

In an interview Friday afternoon, Keevan said Belanger is continuing to seek counseling. 

In addition, Belanger is to have no contact with Sage and is prohibited from possessing firearms. 

If Belanger fulfills the terms of the agreement, he will be allowed to withdraw his plea and the case will be dismissed. 

At his court appearance Friday, Belanger said he has been working as a security guard and plans to return to school out of state. Keeven said the agreement does not prevent Belanger from leaving Maine.  

According to Eric Parker, assistant director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Belanger’s law enforcement certification is inactive, but he has not been decertified.

If an officer is convicted of a crime, Parker said, the conviction needs to be reported to the academy’s Board of Trustees which assigns it to a Complaint Committee that investigates the case.

If the board finds the charge warrants decertification, it can take action against the officer, Parker said. 

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