BANGOR – In the middle of the #MeToo movement, unlawful sexual touching charges against a Maine Game Warden have been dropped, and the victim is not happy.
“I have lost trust for authoritative individuals who hold positions such as his and I question how a man with such poor judgment and immaturity is held to [a] higher standard with his title.”
That’s what the victim, a woman in her 20s, said after hearing unlawful sexual touching and assault charges involving her and against Game Warden Jeremy Judd would be dropped in exchange for him entering a guilty plea for disorderly conduct. That happened Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center.
The spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife responded with the following statement after hearing the victim said she could no longer trust law enforcement.
“The department was very concerned about the charges,” said Mark Latti, the MDIFW communication director.
“That’s why there was an independent investigation, separate from the department, conducted by the head of the State Employee Relations board in order to get a clearer picture of what happened.
He added, “They talked to Jeremy and witness who were there and then based upon that investigation he was placed on unpaid leave.”
It’s not clear if the young woman who reported the assault was interviewed in the board’s investigation.
According to the Bangor Police reports, the victim said the incident occurred when Judd was in the line to buy beer during a July concert at Darling’s Waterfront pavilion. As the woman passed, she told police, he groped her twice, the second time by reaching up her shorts.
After the board’s review, Judd was suspended for two months without pay and will return to work in February.
The prosecutor said the plea agreement over the three misdemeanor charges was the best outcome. It requires Judd to stay sober and get counseling.
“With misdemeanor charges, we really don’t have the ability to place people on probation,” District Attorney Marianne Lynch said after Wednesday’s court hearing. “The deferred disposition agreement allows for the defendant to obtain services. In this case, he’s going to be required to remain in services. He’ll be sentenced in nine months.”
She said Thursday that she understands and accepts the criticism for those who disagree with her decision.
A Rape Response Services program manager said victims often think a conviction is needed to heal, which, she said, is not the case.
“It’s very rewarding for a survivor to tell their story and be believed and to see prosecution and to see the perpetrator pay for the crimes against them … but that’s not always the outcome that happens,” said Amanda Chambers, program manager for Rape Response Services, which provides support and advocacy for victims and people affected by sexual assaults and stalking.
She added, “They sort of put all their healing into this place where a conviction is their end goal, then they get there and realize there is more healing to do.”
Victims of sexual violence can call or text the agency at 1-800-871-7741. Text help is available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Phone help is available 24/7.