Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant, speaking Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, at a budget work session at the South Paris courthouse, said he "did nothing illegal" in sending a lewd photo to a woman while in his office and in uniform. Credit: Lori Valigra

Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant has admitted texting a sexually explicit photo of himself to a woman, and he now faces additional allegations of improper sexual conduct by the union representing employees of the sheriff’s office.

The new allegations against Gallant surfaced late Wednesday afternoon in a Portland Press Herald report. Gallant was first confronted about the sexually explicit photo by Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME on Tuesday, and he admitted in a statement that it was taken in his office and that he was partially in uniform.

[Maine sheriff on lewd photo taken at work: ‘I did nothing illegal’]

Gallant apologized for the photo and said he would resign as president of the Maine Sheriffs Association. But he also told the Bangor Daily News that what he did was not illegal, but “an adult thing” that occurred two years ago.

Since then Ray Cote, business agent for Teamsters Local 340, told the Press Herald that Gallant solicited sex with a deputy and his girlfriend and sent several sexually explicit photos to the woman. When the employee rejected the advances, Gallant threatened his job, according to the Press Herald.

Cote said Gallant also told a second male employee that he wanted to perform oral sex on him.

Cote refused to discuss the matter when reached Thursday morning by a Bangor Daily News reporter.

“I am not going to comment,” Cote said. “I’ve said all I have to say. Happy Thanksgiving.”

[Maine sheriff admits to sending lewd photo from his office]

Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole confirmed that the county launched an independent investigation of Gallant after officials received information “of a certain type that could not be ignored.” He would not comment on the nature of the investigation or what the information was, saying officials felt it necessary to “protect all parties interests, including Wayne Gallant’s.”

Cole declined to comment on Cote’s reported claims.

Calls and emails to Gallant have not been returned.

The Maine Constitution says that only the governor, upon complaint, can remove a sheriff for not “faithfully or efficiently” performing his or her job. Whether Gallant’s actions run afoul of that language is unclear, but he is also required by law to follow the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, in which officers vow that, “I will keep my private life unsullied as an example to all.”

BDN writers Callie Ferguson and Judy Harrison contributed to this report.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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