Demoted Damariscotta chief admits he participated in, ‘did not squash’ sex comments

Posted March 11, 2013, at 5:30 p.m.

DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — Damariscotta Deputy Police Chief Chad Andrews, recently demoted from head of that town’s police department, said his participation in and failure to “squash” sexual “banter and jokes” among male staff led to an internal affairs investigation and, ultimately, his new assignment.

Town Manager Matt Lutkus terminated Andrews, 41, as chief March 2 and appointed him deputy chief the following day with a six-month probationary period. He now earns $46,000, compared with his chief’s salary of $54,000.

According to the terms of an agreement signed by Andrews and Lutkus — and made available to the Bangor Daily News by Lutkus — Andrews, as deputy chief, “will not participate in nor allow sexual harassment or violations of any departmental rules or policies by other officers, and will comply fully with the department’s (standard operating procedures) in this area. Violation of this provision may result in discipline, up to and including termination of your employment.”

The agreement continues, “There is to be absolutely no retaliation to any person who … cooperated during the (internal affairs investigation). If disciplinary action is contemplated towards any officer as a result …, you will not be asked to participate. Any and all complaints received by you in regards to Officer (Richard) Alexander will be directed to the chief or acting chief for follow-up.”

Andrews said Monday the sexual harassment reference in the agreement pertains only to “banter” and “nothing else.” He said he could not comment on the reference to retaliation, or about any possible involvement in the matter by Alexander.

Lutkus confirmed that Officer Alexander is Richard Alexander, but declined to say how or if Alexander is involved.

He declined to say whether any disciplinary action had been taken or was pending against other members of the department, but said no one else was demoted or reassigned.

Andrews, who held the chief’s position since August 2011, said he “demanded an outside investigation.”

But Lutkus said Friday that he requested the internal affairs investigation in early February after receiving a complaint in late January. He declined to say who made the complaint, but said it involved “management” at the police department.

On Feb. 3, Andrews was placed on paid administrative leave pending potential disciplinary action, Lutkus said.

Last Wednesday, Lutkus announced that Andrews had been demoted to deputy chief, and the town would begin a search for his replacement.

The investigation, conducted by the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, is now complete, Lutkus said.

“Normally if a complaint involves an officer, the department manager would do the [investigation], but I think where it involves the management itself, you want to go outside … the county so it would be totally neutral,” he said.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty declined to comment Friday.

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