NEW GLOUCESTER — Andrew E. Demers, a former chief of the Maine State Police, admitted to detectives that he had unlawful sexual contact with a young member of his family, according to Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce.

Joyce on Tuesday declined to discuss specifics of the alleged admission by Demers, 73, who was arrested Monday and charged with unlawful sexual contact with a person younger than 12 years old, a Class B felony. He was released on $5,000 cash bail.

Demers also attempted suicide before the investigation began about a week ago, for which he was hospitalized, Joyce said.

Detectives from the sheriff’s office, acting on a tip from a former employee of Demers’ at the Maine State Police, investigated reports of “an ongoing unlawful sexual contact situation,” Joyce said Monday.

Demers served 26 years with the Maine State Police and held the position of chief from 1987 to 1993, when he retired.

In 2003, Demers was the most decorated officer in state police history and was named a “Legendary Trooper,” the Sun Journal reported at the time

If convicted, Demers could serve up to 10 years in prison and face a maximum fine of $20,000.

The investigation into the allegations against Demers is closed, Joyce said Tuesday. Findings have been sent to the Cumberland County district attorney’s office.

Joyce said he is not aware of any past allegations of this nature against Demers.

An initial appearance for Demers in Cumberland County Superior Court has not yet been set, according to Tamara Getchell, spokeswoman for the Cumberland County district attorney’s office.

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