New details revealed in alleged sexting case against Oxford County Sheriff
SOUTH PARIS (WGME) – Oxford County Commissioners have asked Governor LePage to step in and remove Sheriff Wayne Gallant from office.
That request is part of an official complaint alleging the sheriff sent lewd photos and texts to his employees.
When CBS 13 called Sheriff Gallant, he said he was unaware of the commissioners’ complaint and declined to comment.
But when we first confronted him on November 21, he admitted sending the photos, but denied the ones we showed him went to his employees.
He was adamant he would remain in his job, but the commissioners feel that shouldn't be the case.
In a unanimous vote, Oxford County Commissioners asked Governor LePage to remove Sheriff Wayne Gallant from office.
They sent the governor a detailed complaint, alleging sexual misconduct by the sheriff.
"The governor has the authority under the constitution to remove the sheriff after notice and hearing,” Oxford County Attorney Brian Dench said. “So the process is now in the hands of the governor."
CBS 13 was the first to tell you about allegations against Sheriff Gallant.
In an exclusive off-camera interview, Gallant admitted to us that he took an explicit photo of himself while inside his office and in uniform, and sent it to an unidentified woman.
The complaint says that woman is an employee of another law enforcement agency.
When we confronted Gallant with other lewd photos of himself, he denied they were ever sent to an employee.
But the commissioners’ complaint alleges Gallant sent multiple indecent photos over text to a male officer and his female companion.
It also alleges Gallant solicited them for sex.
The commissioners say filing this complaint is the only action they can take because the sheriff is elected to his position.
"The commissioners don't have the authority to give orders to the sheriff or to take any action with regards to the sheriff," Dench said.
Commissioners say in the complaint that Sheriff Gallant tolerated, engaged in, and fostered inappropriate sexual conduct within the department which they say violates the county's sexual harassment policy.
Officials say it took three weeks to get the information they needed, and wanted to make sure they had it right.
“Have it investigated independently so that there would be no question that the commissioners had information, facts that will reliable before they took any action," Dench said.
Gallant’s lawyer hasn't returned calls for comment.
The governor's press secretary says this will move to a legal proceeding and they too can no longer comment.
Under Maine’s constitution, the governor will conduct a legal hearing into the allegations against Sheriff Gallant, and can remove him if he determines the sheriff is not fulfilling his duties.
If that happens, the governor would appoint a successor, until the next county election.
In case you're wondering, according to research by our partners at the Bangor Daily News, the last time a Maine sheriff was removed is believed to have been in Kennebec County, in 1926, more than 90 years ago.