A district attorney and a drug treatment counselor are suing a Penobscot County district judge over sexual harassment they say they experienced at a conference in Nashville.

Charles Budd, who oversaw the Penobscot County Adult Drug Treatment program before he was placed on administrative leave, is accused of making sexual advances toward Samantha Pike, a drug and alcohol treatment counselor, and Natasha Irving, lead prosecutor for Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.

The complaint focuses mostly on Budd’s interactions with Pike, who worked regularly with him and directed the outpatient substance use disorder program for Wellspring Inc., an addiction treatment provider in Bangor. She is the lead treatment provider for the Penobscot County adult drug court, and the complaint stated she has worked with drug court participants for the last four years, spending 16 to 25 hours a week in Budd’s courtroom.

Budd met Irving for the first time at a national conference for drug court professionals in Nashville at the end of July and almost immediately sexually propositioned her while she was having a conversation with another member of the Maine judicial branch, according to an amended complaint filed by both women Monday.

“It took tremendous courage for Mrs. Pike and Ms. Irving to come forward with these allegations,” Laura White, the women’s attorney, said in a statement Monday.

Budd has denied the allegations.



“Judge Budd was astonished to see these new allegations. He completely denies that he engaged in this conduct, with this new plaintiff or with anyone for that matter,” his attorney, Walter McKee, said in a statement Monday.

Pike and Budd booked separate rooms at a hotel near the one hosting the conference, the complaint states. Budd told her his room was directly across from hers – a lie she now says he told her “so that he could get Pike alone upstairs and then enter her hotel room,” the complaint stated.

They agreed to share a ride back to their hotel from a bar on the first night of the conference. Once inside the hotel, Budd told Pike he thought she was pretty, which she said made feel her uncomfortable, and “unsafe and frightened” when he followed her to her room and asked her to invite him inside. Pike agreed to meet Budd at the hotel bar for a drink instead – after trying to decline the offer twice – because she felt “like she needed to get out of the hallway with Judge Budd and get him away from her room.”

At the bar, Budd described his “rocky marriage,” saying his wife suspected he was cheating on her and that he was “often sexually propositioned by women due to his role as a judge.” He also told Pike that he found two of the female participants in the adult drug court program attractive and that he hoped none of his colleagues believed he was favoring them over other participants, the complaint states.

The next evening, when Budd asked Pike to join him for dinner, she said she persuaded other conference attendees to join them so they wouldn’t be alone. The complaint states he kept pursuing her – standing behind her, sitting beside her as soon as a seat became available, “following her” with his eyes and popping up behind her shoulder every time she tried to get away from him.


At the end of the night, Pike was able to leave the bar by pretending to go to the restroom with a couple of other women.

“Pike was placed in extreme, pervasive and severe fear that Judge Budd was going to sexually assault her that night,” the complaint said.

She later texted Budd that they had left but that one co-worker was still at the bar. He implied she “ditched him.”

“I haven’t been ditched in a long time,” Budd texted, according to the complaint. “But I recognize the rhythms. No more Boston creams for you,” he said, making a reference to the doughnuts Budd started bringing to the office when she joined – something she says he didn’t do for her male predecessor.

Budd met Irving at the same conference. The district attorney was talking with a court official when Budd approached them and the conversation “immediately turned sexual,” with Budd asking Irving where she was staying and inviting her back to his room, the complaint stated.

“Ms. Irving was humiliated and shocked to be sexually propositioned within minutes of meeting a judge,” the complaint stated, especially in front of “a respected colleague.”



The complaint describes a history of similar allegations from other women Budd has worked with before the Nashville trip. He has “a reputation for flirting with clerks in various courthouses where he has presided,” Pike and Irving’s complaint states.

“Upon information and belief, Judge Budd is known to show favoritism toward young, attractive, female drug court clients,” the complaint stated. “Judge Budd treats such clients more favorably than male clients, or clients that he does not deem sexually attractive.”

When Pike returned to Maine, she described the trip to her human resources department and brought her supervisor to court two weeks later, where Budd had saved two Boston cream donuts in a white paper bag for her, the complaint says.

After court, he asked to talk to her in his office. Not wanting to “cause a scene,” she agreed. She stood as close to his office doorway as she could, to keep a bailiff within eyesight. Budd told her he was “making a lot of changes” at home, implying he meant to leave his wife and pursue her, the complaint says.

A court official reached out to Pike later that night and said he was filing an official complaint against Budd, after hearing about their trip to Nashville.

Barbara Cardone, spokesperson for Maine Judicial Branch, confirmed that Budd is on administrative leave but would not say when that began.

“Because the matter relating to Judge Budd’s administrative leave is confidential, the Judicial Branch is unable to comment at this time,” Cardone said.

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