PARIS — Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole confirmed Monday that the county is investigating Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant.

An official of the union that represents 23 sworn officers of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office told the Portland Press Herald last Wednesday that Gallant made unwanted solicitations for sex to at least two of his employees.

Ray Cote, business agent for Teamsters Local 340, said last week that he received the reports directly from the employees but declined to name them. In one instance, Gallant sent multiple sexually explicit photographs of himself to a male deputy’s girlfriend, and asked that Gallant, the deputy and the woman have sex, Cote said. When the employee rebuffed the advances, Gallant threatened his job, Cote said.

In another instance, Gallant typed a message on a cellphone indicating he wanted to perform oral sex on a male employee, and then showed the person what he typed, Cote said.

Copies of four of the images sent to the deputy’s girlfriend, which were obtained by the Press Herald, show Gallant displaying his genitalia. His face is visible in three of the images, including one in which Gallant is in uniform.

The allegations came a day after Gallant admitted to a TV news program that he sent a sexually explicit photograph several years ago to a woman. He declined to identify the woman.

Cote said Gallant should be removed from office because of his actions.

Cote told WCSH 6 on Friday that he believes Oxford County Chief Deputy Hart Daley was aware of the situation and did nothing, and should be removed as well.

In an email to WCSH 6, Daley said, in part, “I can state that I was completely unaware of these alleged allegations and other issues until they were made public.”

County Administrator Cole said Monday that county officials “were made aware of certain pieces of information in early November, and based on that, they felt they should open an investigation.”

He added that he had no comment on who passed along the information to the county officials, or whether the District Attorney’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office was in charge of the investigation.

“What I can say is that the investigator, or investigators, are working for Oxford County,” Cole said.

District Attorney Andrew Robinson said Monday afternoon that the Oxford County District Attorney’s office is not handling the case.

On Nov. 21 when WGME 13 questioned Gallant, he said he was not aware of any investigation.

Cole said the county does not keep disciplinary records on Gallant because there is “no formal process” in Maine for filing a complaint against an elected sheriff.

He pointed out Title 30A, Section 441 of the Maine Legislature’s Revised Statutes, which states the only way to remove a sheriff from office is for the county commissioners to file a complaint with the governor that details how the sheriff is not faithfully or efficiently performing his or her duties.

“The statute gives definitive language on the removal of a sheriff, which is by way of the governor, but there’s nothing in between,” Cole said. “If there’s an issue, and you don’t like what you’re getting with your sheriff, you can use your First Amendment rights and say something, but there’s nothing formal, in terms of filing a complaint.”

Maine state law makes it a Class E misdemeanor to knowingly expose one’s genitals under circumstances that are likely to cause affront or alarm, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to the Maine Human Rights Commission, which enforces the state’s anti-discrimination laws, any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when the sexual conduct is a condition of employment, if rejecting the advances is used to make employment decisions about the person being harassed or if the conduct creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive working environment.

Gallant has not returned either phone or e-mail requests for comment.

First elected in 2006, he is in his third four-year term as Oxford County sheriff and has served as president of the sheriffs’ association since January.

“I bring discredit to myself, to my uniform, my badge and the Maine Sheriffs’ Association,” Gallant said in a written statement last week. “The appropriate thing for me to do is not remain in a leadership position with the association and to step down.”

Gallant, who is divorced, was an Army sergeant serving in Vietnam. He worked with the Rumford Police Department from 1980 to 2005, eventually serving as police chief. He then worked as the police chief in Wilton in 2005, before being elected sheriff in 2006.

Rumford Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said she had one disciplinary record from Gallant’s time serving on the Rumford Police Department stemming from a complaint by then-Police Chief Timothy Bourassa in December 1996.

Gallant, a lieutenant at the time, made two statements to a reporter “alleging misconduct on the part of Chief Bourassa.”

The Rumford Board of Selectmen found that Gallant’s statements to the reporter were motivated by a long-standing feud with the police chief and a desire to take the chief’s job. The disciplinary action resulted in a week’s suspension without pay.

Cole said Monday that Oxford County commissioners have no plans to meet to discuss whether or not to file a complaint against Gallant with the Governor’s Office.

The Portland Press Herald contributed to this report.

Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant (Sun Journal file photo)


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