April 18, 2019
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Maine State Prison captain arrested, accused of assaulting inmate

ROCKLAND, Maine — A captain at the Maine State Prison was arrested Wednesday afternoon after being accused of assaulting an inmate on Christmas Eve.

A criminal complaint was filed Wednesday in Knox County Superior charging David J. Cutler, 54, of Appleton with assault.

The complaint alleges that Cutler intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury or offensive physical contact to Renardo Williams on Dec. 24 in Warren.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said Wednesday that Williams was an inmate at the prison, but has since been transferred to the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. Williams is serving a prison term for trafficking in drugs, with an expected release date in February 2021.

The inmate did not require hospitalization, according to the district attorney.

A warrant for Cutler’s arrest was issued and he was arrested shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to Rushlau. Cutler was brought to the Knox County Jail in Rockland and was expected to be released later in the day on $1,000 unsecured bail.

The prosecutor said he believed Cutler has been placed on administrative leave but referred questions concerning his status to the Maine Department of Corrections. A telephone message left with the Maine Department of Corrections was not returned Wednesday.

The assault is a Class D offense punishable by up to a year in jail.

More details were not immediately available.

The Maine Department of Corrections acknowledged earlier this month that its decision in January to remove Patricia Barnhart as warden at the Maine State Prison was based on management problems that included the number of incidents reported at the facility.

Barnhart was informed Jan. 10 by Commissioner Joseph Ponte that she was being replaced as warden and she has not been at the prison since that action. She is to retain the warden title and pay through Feb. 28, however, and is expected to start her new job as policy development coordinator for the corrections department on March 1.

The Corrections Department released statistics last week showing that the number of incidents such as assaults at the prison in Warren has been above average during the past several months. The incident reports listed assaults against staff and assaults by inmates against other inmates.

Judy Garvey, a member of the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition, pointed out Wednesday, however, that corrections department statistics fail to list assaults against inmates by staff.

She said assaults against inmates by staff are more common than reported publicly. Often, Garvey said, staff accused of such assaults are placed on administrative leave and no other action is taken.

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