The old Kennebec County Courthouse in Augusta on March 18, 2020. A county employee who works in the building has been charged with three counts of gross sexual assault of a female inmate under his supervision. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — James Saucier is alleged to have raped a woman in the custody of the Kennebec County jail assigned to work for him, and that woman says she heard he sexually assaulted other inmates at the county jail too, according to an affidavit filed by Augusta police.

James Saucier

Saucier, Kennebec County’s maintenance manager, was arrested last week on three counts of gross sexual assault in connection with the allegations involving the woman.

Saucier, 58, of Belgrade, allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, who was working as a “trusty” under his supervision on three occasions, between February and March 0f 2020, the affidavit states.

Trusties are people in jail who are allowed to do maintenance work. First, they are allowed to work inside, and later can be authorized to work outside the Kennebec County Correctional Facility, with the supervision of correctional staff and a maintenance supervisor, also classified as a supervisor of the trusties. In this case, Saucier was classified as a supervisor of the trusties, the affidavit states.

“What do you say to somebody who is in authority above you,” the woman told police, according to the affidavit. She told police she was “going with the flow” while thinking to herself, “Do I argue with him and lose my job”?

According to the alleged victim, Saucier initiated the assaults in his office, located in the basement of the former Kennebec County courthouse building at 95 State St. in Augusta. The woman first told a jail corrections officer about the allegations.

He is alleged to have sexually assaulted other females in the jail who previously worked for him, according to the victim’s statements in the police affidavit filed by Detective Michael Unterkoefler.

The woman in the Augusta police affidavit told authorities the first assault took place in Saucier’s office. The victim told Augusta Police that Saucier, while she was in his office, asked if he could touch her. She said that in her head she was thinking, “Do I fight this, do I not fight this. Do I just put on a façade. And I did.” She told Augusta police she didn’t say yes or no when Saucier asked if he could touch her.

About a week after that, the victim told police, she went to his basement office and Saucier proceeded to sexually assault her. The woman told police that on her second meeting with Saucier, when she first went to work for him, he asked her in his office and said, “You want to jump my bones, don’t you.” She told police that’s not what she was thinking and was shocked by the comment. But, she said as a person who was in jail and reliant upon Saucier for her trusty job, she didn’t know how to react.

The woman told police she felt numb and, though she said she wasn’t ever threatened by Saucier, she wondered, “If she said no, would I still have been OK.”

The victim described a similar incident in a third rape alleged in the affidavit, about a week after the second.

The criminal complaint alleges the incidents took place between Feb. 15, 2020, and March 1, 2020, and indicated Saucier had supervisory or disciplinary authority over the female inmate.

Peter Marchesi, the county’s attorney, to whom County Administrator Robert Devlin referred questions about the case, said people should allow the legal process to play out.

“At this point these are nothing more than accusations and this individual is entitled to a presumption of innocence unless the state proves its case otherwise,” Marchesi said Wednesday. “I’d encourage folks to let the process run its course.”

The female inmate also told police she had heard, from both another inmate and from Saucier himself, that he had previously had sex with other inmates.

It’s not clear from the affidavit whether those additional allegations are under investigation or those other inmates were interviewed. Augusta Police Sgt. Jesse Brann said Wednesday the department could not comment on the case, or whether police are investigating the additional allegations, any further than what was already included in the affidavit, because the case is “still open and ongoing.”

When interviewed by police, Saucier “continually denied having any sexual relations with any female trusties and was adamant that the accusations were false,” the affidavit states. “Saucier stated, ‘It doesn’t matter. If I say that something happened, I’m still just as guilty because I’m in a position of power.’ Saucier advised he had nothing to say because he didn’t do anything. Saucier continued to deny the allegations for the remainder of the interview.”

Saucier turned himself in to the police station on Thursday last week and was released after posting $1,000 cash bail. Bail conditions include that Saucier has no contact with the alleged victim or any people incarcerated at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility.

Michael Madigan, an assistant district attorney who is expected to prosecute the case, said in court documents the state was not aware of any prior criminal convictions for Saucier.

The charges against Saucier are Class B felony charges, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

The Kennebec County government has an annual budget of $13.6 million that is supported through a county assessment on municipalities and supports the costs of running operations such as the jail in Augusta. The county has about 170 employees.

Marchesi, asked if the county was doing an internal review of the matter, said the county planned to let the criminal justice process run its course and, depending on the outcome, an internal review was a possibility.

Augusta police, executing a search warrant April 8, 2020, in Saucier’s office, seized multiple electronic devices, including computer equipment, and submitted it to the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Taskforce for a forensic analysis. That analysis produced 39 images from Saucier’s office, including images the affidavit says show the assaults taking place.

Saucier, who has worked for Kennebec County since 1986, has been put on leave from his county job, according to Devlin, the county administrator. Marchesi wasn’t sure of the date Saucier was put on leave but said it was as soon as the county was made aware the allegations were made and there was an investigation.

“We don’t know if these allegations are true or not,” Marchesi said. “But if they’re true, these are not the kinds of things you need to tell people not to do. You don’t have to tell somebody that you don’t rob a bank.”

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