District attorney won’t talk about Carlson police report

Posted Aug. 17, 2012, at 8:08 p.m.
Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy
Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy Buy Photo
The Rev. Robert Carlson
The Rev. Robert Carlson

BANGOR, Maine — The first page of the heavily redacted Maine State Police report released this month that incriminates the Rev. Robert Carlson as a serial child sex abuser simply states that Carlson — a trusted community leader — hurt children dating back 36 years before his death.

R. Christopher Almy, district attorney for Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, has a copy of the complete, unedited report, and on Friday declined to answer any questions regarding it.

“I don’t feel that’s really appropriate,” Almy said repeatedly.

How Carlson groomed local children to be his victims, the length of the abuse and how he hurt them are questions Almy declined to answer, saying he was not going to provide information beyond what state police provided in their redacted 104-page report, which includes 33 pages of employment documents and 20 pages of Bangor Daily News articles.

The report has 14 entries that say “see summary of interview” or “see attached reports” at the ends of paragraphs, and it also has at least 14 full pages of completely redacted interviews.

Carlson was a longtime religious and civic leader who committed suicide by jumping from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge on Nov. 13, 2011, shortly after learning detectives were looking into allegations of sex abuse involving him and a boy.

To protect the identity of the victims, details about what Carlson did to the children, many of whom are now adults, were removed entirely from the state police report, Lt. Christopher Coleman, commander of the Maine State Police’s Major Crimes Unit for the northern part of the state, has said.

One of the most damaging portions of the state police investigative report centers on a treatment facility that Carlson “had full access to,” which treated “at least half a dozen victims,” and where “administration told Bob that he was no longer welcome.”

The sister of one of Carlson’s victims, who was an 11-year-old boy when Carlson befriended the family and is now a 52-year-old man living in Bangor, said he was treated at Wellspring Inc. — a residential addiction treatment program whose headquarters is on Cumberland Street in Bangor — on more than one occasion.

“[He] went to Wellspring a couple of times and Carlson was [there] every time we turned around,” the sister said. “The way Carlson acted I thought he ran the place.”

Patricia Kimball, executive director of Wellspring, said last week that she has a vague recollection of Carlson spending too much time with one client and being asked to back off.

“I remember something or someone said something about Bob having something to do with a client there and we were going to limit his contact,” she said.

According to her recollection, “there was no meeting” between Carlson and administrators. She did say it wasn’t uncommon to see Carlson at the facility, because he often provided Wellspring clients rides to meetings.

One of Kimball’s last memories of Carlson is of him testifying in Augusta, advocating for the agency.

“He went to bat for us when we were losing funding,” the executive director said.

The news that Carlson was a serial child abuser has stung Kimball.

“It’s been heart-wrenching for everybody involved,” she said. “What he did was horrific, unforgivable. It was sick.”

While no details about how Carlson sexually abused the children has been released, when police believe it started is available.

In the state police report, state police Detective Dean Jackson wrote that he “entered Jan. 1, 1991 as the occurred on date, due to the NIBRS rules being implemented, but the offenses actually began in 1975.”

The National Incident Based Recording System is used by detectives to collect and record data on each individual crime, the FBI website states.

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