Washington County corrections officer who was accused of assault hoax resigns

Posted Dec. 13, 2012, at 4:26 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 13, 2012, at 7:42 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — A Washington County corrections officer who said he was assaulted behind the county jail facility in October resigned Thursday morning, just hours before a scheduled termination hearing in front of the county’s board of commissioners.

Troy Lyons, 39, of Lubec had worked at the county jail in Machias for 12 years and had recently been promoted to the rank of sergeant.

Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith suspended Lyons with pay after an in-house investigation concluded that the multiple injuries for which Lyons was treated the night of Oct. 29 at Downeast Community Hospital in Machias were self-inflicted, according to Smith. Lyons has denied that allegation.

When contacted by phone Thursday afternoon, Lyons declined comment on his resignation.

Lyons previously told the Bangor Daily News that he was talking on a cellphone outside the jail around 10:30 p.m Oct. 29, when he saw a shadow moving along a fenceline on the jail’s perimeter. He went to investigate, he said, and was struck and fell to the ground. Lyons said his injuries included cuts on his face and injuries to his chest, a shoulder and a knee.

Smith said Thursday that he concluded the assault was a hoax because “there were just too many improprieties and inconsistencies in his story.”

“Things just didn’t add up, and he changed his story,” Smith said. “One time he said he was investigating a noise, another time checking out a shadow. He said he was hit head-on, but said he didn’t see anything. He also said that he was on the ground for four or five minutes. This happened the night of the hurricane, and he wasn’t muddy and he wasn’t wet. And, although the area where he said the assault took place isn’t covered by a surveillance camera, he doesn’t show up on other surveillance cameras, coming or going.”

In accepting the resignation, the commissioners said they would not honor Lyons’ request that the incident not be disclosed to potential future employers.

“While we appreciate the request, I’m not sure this board is under any obligation except to express the truth,” Board Chairman Chris Gardner said. “We do not stipulate to any provisions.”

Smith said his department has been contacted by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which is seeking copies of the records of the in-house investigation.

“If they think filing a false report is a crime, they could decertify him,” Smith said.

An investigation of the incident also was being conducted by the Machias Police Department. Police Chief Grady Dwelley was off duty Thursday and could not be reached for comment on the status of that investigation.

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