AUBURN — The Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit on Thursday arrested a former city councilor at his home and charged him with possession of child pornography.

Joshua Shea, 38, was released from the Androscoggin County Jail on $500 bail on the condition that he have no contact with children under the age of 18. His first court date is set for May 1.

Detectives seized Shea’s computer for analysis at the computer crimes unit. The Maine Department of Public Safety said initial inspection of the computer showed hundreds of images of child pornography.

Shea was reached Thursday afternoon at his home, but he declined to comment.

Shea is the publisher of Lewiston Auburn Magazine and the organizer of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival. (UPDATE: Shea was fired from the magazine Friday) At L-A Magazine’s office at 86 Main St. in Auburn, the door was open but no one was in the office early Thursday afternoon.

Shea was a part-time sports employee for the Sun Journal from 1993 to 1997, and a full-time newsroom employee from 1997 to 2000.

He was named to the 2012 class of MaineToday Media’s 40 Under 40. According to a report on the Portland Press Herald’s website, “Forty Under 40 is an award designed to recognize talented individuals in Maine — under the age of 40 — who are making a difference. They are the emerging generation of leaders who are bound to make a memorable mark in the business community and beyond.”

Chip Morrison, president of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, nominated Shea for the award. 

“Josh is a significant young leader in our communities, pushing for quality collaborations between Lewiston and Auburn and for major improvements in local education,” Morrison said in a quote in the Press Herald write-up.

Morrison said Thursday he knows Shea as a member of the business community.

“I’m as shocked as anybody would be about this and worried about the impact on the community, on his family,” Morrison said. “I’m sickened, frankly.”

Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonte, a friend of Shea, also was a member of the 2012 40 Under 40 class. LaBonte on Thursday declined to comment on Shea’s arrest.

Shea in 2012 was a board member of the Lewiston Education Fund, the Great Falls Balloon Festival and the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. He also is a member of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.

Shea was scheduled to do a stand-up comedy routine at a show Friday at Narals restaurant in Auburn. 

He was elected to the Auburn City Council in 2011, one of five people vying for two at-large seats on the council. He was part of a slate of candidates who wanted to bring a new era of professionalism, energy and positive change to the city. He decided in May 2013 not to seek a second term, saying he felt he could do more as a private citizen.

“I see the tiny cog in the giant wheel of government that I am and I recognize I can do more for the community with my magazine,” Shea said. “I can do more working for the film festival. I can do more trying to rebuild the art scene downtown. Those are places I can see a tangible difference that I am making.”

Shea, a Lewiston native, lives on Paul Street in Auburn with his wife and two children.


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