AUBURN — A civil trial got underway Monday morning between Sabattus Police Chief Gary Baillargeon and his ex-wife, Lori Cougle, who is accusing him of abusing her throughout their marriage.

David Van Dyke, the attorney representing Cougle, said in his opening statement that this case was “about 24 years of domestic violence in (Lori’s) household by her ex-husband, who was for many years a police officer, and is now the police chief of Sabattus.”

According to the initial complaint filed in September 2014, six months after divorce proceedings began, Cougle said that during their marriage and specifically within the two years preceding the complaint, Gary Baillargeon “committed multiple acts of physical assault and violence” upon her and “threatened further violence.”

She also alleges he struck her on multiple occasions, “violently pushed her head into walls,” and frequently grabbed and restrained her body with “sufficient force and severity to cause injury.”

Her complaint levies three claims against Baillargeon: assault and battery, intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress, and malice.

Van Dyke said that even after the divorce proceedings began, she remained afraid to file a claim on the abuse and waited six months.

“I wish that, rather than money, Lori could get some parts of her life back, but that’s not the way our system works,” he told the jury.

Sarah Glynn, the attorney representing Baillargeon, said that the position of her and her client is “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” adding that Cougle was “enraged that her husband had left the home.”

“Gary and Lori had their issues, and it’s not unusual that they would argue,” Glynn continued. “Their interests were often at odds with one another.”

Glynn said that Baillargeon has filed a counterclaim against Cougle for intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging that Cougle’s accusations have alienated Baillargeon from his children, and that in the period following the divorce proceedings, “intentionally engaged in a pattern of conduct that could negatively (affect) Gary’s reputation in the community, his job, and his professional and personal relationships.”

She also asked the jury to consider the fact that despite the claims being levied against Baillargeon, no reports were filed to the police, counselors or doctors until six months after divorce proceedings began, and that no protection orders were filed.

“We ask that you remember that there are at least two sides to every story,” Glynn said. “Don’t draw conclusions until you have heard all of the evidence. It’s your job to sort, sift and dig for the truth.”

Witnesses due to testify include Gary Baillargeon and Lori Cougle, Tim Cougle, the brother of Lori, and friends and family members of both the plaintiff and defendant.

Glynn said that the friends and family members are people who have “observed the dynamics of this family over the years.”

The trial before a 10-member jury — four women, six men — is expected to last four days, ending Thursday, Feb. 2, at Androscoggin County Superior Court.

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