February 21, 2018
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LePage replaces Oxford sheriff who resigned after sexual harassment claims

By Jake Bleiberg, BDN Staff
Updated:

Gov. Paul LePage has appointed former Mexico Police Chief James Theriault to serve as interim sheriff of Oxford County.

LePage announced the appointment over Twitter Wednesday night, filling the seat vacated by former Sheriff Wayne Gallant, who resigned late last year in the face of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and the prospect of being removed from office.

Because Gallant was elected as a Democrat, the governor selected the interim sheriff from among three candidates put forward by the Oxford County Democrats. They were Theriault, Chief Deputy Hart Daley, who is currently the acting sheriff, and Lt. Mike Ward, who is currently serving in the Oxford Police Department, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal.

LePage reviewed the applications for all three men and interviewed two of them before choosing Theriault, according to the governor’s press secretary, Julie Rabinowitz. Theriault is scheduled to be sworn into office next week.

“We wish Sheriff Theriault every success in his new post, and welcome him to team Oxford,” County Administrator Scott Cole said Wednesday night. County officials were informed of the appointment by letter Tuesday.

Gallant stepped down in December, one day after the commissioners of Oxford County requested that LePage remove him from office. An investigation by the county lawyer found that Gallant had “tolerated, engaged in, and fostered inappropriate sexual conduct within the department.”

The veteran sheriff admitted to sending a sexually explicit photo to a woman while in his office and in uniform, but denied subsequent allegations that he sexually harassed or threatened to fire employees in connection with solicitations for sex.

Theriault told the Rumford Falls Times that he intends to run for election as sheriff after finishing Gallant’s term, which expires at the end of 2018.

“I’ve already got my papers and I’m starting to get signatures,” he told the paper.

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