LUBEC, Maine — Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith was the victim of an alleged domestic violence assault Thursday evening that resulted in the arrest of his wife, according to Maine State Police.
Around 5:30 p.m., Lynne Kelsey-Smith called state police from the couple’s Lubec home, alleging that the sheriff had threatened her, according to Lt. Roderick Charette.
“She requested a police response to the residence,” he said. “She alleged that she had been threatened [by Smith], but when we got there and actually did the investigation, we arrested her for assaulting him.”
“That’s why investigation is so critical in these situations,” Charette said.
The state police lieutenant said that Smith did not require medical attention, but that domestic violence assault, by definition, involves physical contact. When asked whether alcohol was involved in the incident, Charette said details of the arrest would not be disclosed, pending an “ongoing investigation.”
Smith will not be commenting publicly on the incident, according to his chief deputy, Shawn Donahue, who said he’d spoken with the sheriff several times since the arrest. The sheriff was not at work Friday and was not expected to be.
“At this point the sheriff has no comment, and the office has no comment on the situation other than to refer people to the state police,” Donahue said. “We’re cutting off everyone’s contact with the sheriff. … We’re just trying to let him deal with his personal issues.”
Kelsey-Smith was arrested and transported to Hancock County Jail in Ellsworth. Charette said it’s not unusual for suspects in one county to be boarded at another jail, usually due to overcrowding.
Donahue said the Washington County Jail is not currently full. When asked whether Kelsey-Smith was brought to the Ellsworth jail because Smith oversees the Washington County Jail in his role as sheriff, Charette said the decision was made by officials at the two jails, who have the final say in inmate placement.
Kelsey-Smith was released on $1,000 unsecured bail early Friday morning. She is scheduled to appear in Machias District Court on July 1. Domestic violence assault is a Class D crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that domestic violence assault is a Class C crime. It is a Class D crime. An earlier version of this story gave the wrong time for Kelsey-Smith’s arrest. The time given previously, around 9:30 p.m., is when Kelsey-Smith was booked at the Hancock County Jail.