SHIRLEY, Maine — The chief pilot with the Maine Warden Service has been placed on administrative leave in connection with his arrest earlier this month on domestic violence assault and other charges, officials confirmed Friday.
In addition to domestic violence assault, Charles Later, 54, of Shirley is charged with obstructing the report of a crime and criminal mischief, Piscataquis County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said.
Later was charged on June 3, according to the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department.
Almy said that the charges stem from an investigation into an alleged assault on a woman at Later’s residence in Shirley. He said that Later, who had been drinking, got into an altercation with the victim and while she was trying to call 911 for help, damaged the telephone and shoved her.
Later is scheduled to appear in Piscataquis County Superior Court on June 25, Almy said.
Later was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the sheriff’s investigation and a review by the Piscataquis County district attorney’s office, Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service said Friday.
The warden service also will be doing its own independent investigation of the incident, MacDonald said in a message. He declined further comment.
Later was hired as the warden service’s chief pilot in April 1999, according to a news story from the Bangor Daily News archives.
He first learned to fly with his father, who also was a Maine Warden Service pilot, and earned his pilot’s license at age 17.
Before he was hired by the warden service, Later was a pilot and director of maintenance for Folsom Air in Greenville and before that he worked in Aroostook County for Valley Airlines and in Portland for Maine Aviation.
In 2009, he was named the Maine Warden Service’s Supervisor of the Year Award for “his expertise in aviation, fiscal responsibility and supervision of two MWS pilots who provide all of the aviation needs for the MWS throughout the state.”
According to the state’s website, the Maine Warden Service’s Aviation Division consists of three aircraft and three full-time pilots, each of whom also is a sworn game warden.