AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine Warden Service pilot who was placed on administrative leave this summer after his arrest on a domestic violence assault charge is back on the job, a warden service official confirmed Thursday.
Warden pilot Charles Later was returned to service after the warden service completed an internal review into alleged misconduct, Cpl. John MacDonald confirmed.
MacDonald said Later, who previously flew out of the Greenville Regional Headquarters, now is assigned to the warden service’s seaplane base at Eagle Lake in northern Maine. It was not immediately clear when Later returned to work.
Later was the warden service’s chief pilot at the time he was placed on administrative leave. MacDonald said that another pilot has been named acting chief and that the position will be advertised in the near future.
“The people of Maine are well-served by having Charlie back flying for us,” Col. Joel Wilkinson said in a statement released on Thursday.
The allegations stemmed from Later’s arrest in June on charges of domestic violence assault, obstructing the report of a crime and criminal mischief charges. Those charges were dropped in late August. Later pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge and was fined $500 during an appearance in Piscataquis County Superior Court.
District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said in August that he had to drop the charges because the victim, Later’s wife, refused to cooperate with his office.
MacDonald said Thursday that there was no suspension or revocation of Later’s law enforcement certification after a separate review of alleged criminal conduct by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s board of trustees.
Later had been accused of throwing items and food while drunk. He also was accused of shoving his wife and ripping the phone out of the wall when she called police.
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 received 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.