ROCKLAND, Maine — A former Knox County Jail guard was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexually assaulting a former inmate at least three times while she was incarcerated last year.
The woman told Rockland police that in exchange for sex, Adam Grierson provided her with cigarettes which he smuggled into the nonsmoking facility.
Grierson, who police list as having addresses in both St. George and Camden, was charged with three counts of gross sexual assault. The offenses allegedly occurred in January, February and March 2012.
He was released on $10,000 unsecured bail Tuesday evening and is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in Rockland District Court on Nov. 27.
The woman, who is in her mid-20s, also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Knox County in July over the alleged assaults, which occurred while she was incarcerated in the county jail from November 2011 through April 2012. She is seeking $300,000 in damages as well as unspecified punitive damages.
The Bangor Daily News is not naming the woman because she may be a victim.
A week after the lawsuit was filed, Rockland police were asked by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the former inmate’s allegations, according to an affidavit filed by Detective Sgt. Christopher Young of the Rockland Police Department.
The woman provided the names of three other female inmates who could corroborate her statements, according to the affidavit. Those three women were interviewed and confirmed the complainant’s version of events, according to the affidavit.
On Aug. 5, Grierson was interviewed and confessed that he sexually assaulted the woman, according to the affidavit. The former jail guard, however, denied trading cigarettes for the sex. He said he provided the cigarettes with no connection to the sex, according to the affidavit.
About 40 people were interviewed as part of the investigation, including jail staff and people who were inmates at the time. The case then was referred to the district attorney’s office, which filed the criminal complaints this week.
In Maine, it is a felony crime for corrections officers to have sex with an inmate under their supervision. The maximum sentence for Class B gross sexual assault is 10 years in prison.
In March 2012, Grierson was charged with trafficking tobacco in an adult correctional facility after allegedly giving the same inmate a cigarette.
The guard was placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation was conducted, but he resigned three days after the tobacco charge was filed against him.
State law considers tobacco products contraband and prohibits them in the jail.
Grierson failed to appear for a hearing on the trafficking charge on May 14, 2012, and the judge issued an arrest warrant. He was arrested two days later and then released on $200 bail.
The trafficking charge was dismissed in August by Judge John Kennedy because a Knox County deputy who was a witness in the trial was in training and not available to testify. Assistant District Attorney Jeffrey Baroody said the state had requested a continuance on that case but the judge denied the request.
Detective Young said he also investigated the woman’s claim that there were other instances of male guards having sex with female inmates, but found nothing to support that allegation.
Paul Greene of Portland, the woman’s attorney, said in July that it was not an easy thing for the woman to come forward.
“This was a courageous thing for her to do. We’re proud of her for stepping forward,” Greene said.
The woman was in jail at the time for violating probation on an underlying charge of possession of hydrocodone.
The woman is suing the corrections officer and Sheriff Donna Dennison in her capacity as sheriff and as a representative of Knox County. The actions by the jail guard were in reckless disregard of the woman’s civil rights and warrant the punitive damages, the suit states.
The woman is represented by attorneys Greene, Eric Mehnert of Bangor and William Maddox of Rockland. Greene said she has three attorneys because they wanted to provide her the best representation possible.
Grierson filed a response to the federal lawsuit in August in which he stated that “at all times he acted in good faith and without knowledge that his conduct violated any clearly established constitutional or statutory rights of the Plaintiff.” Grierson has asked for a jury trial on the civil lawsuit.
Dennison could not be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.
The federal trial is scheduled for June 2014.
To reach a sexual assault advocate, call the Statewide Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Line at 800-871-7741, TTY 888-458-5599. This free and confidential 24-hour service is accessible from anywhere in Maine. Calls are automatically routed to the closest sexual violence service provider.