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A Maine game warden pleaded guilty Wednesday to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a July incident at a Bangor concert in which a woman reported that he slapped her buttocks and reached under her shorts.
In exchange for his plea, charges of assault and unlawful sexual touching filed against Jeremy Judd, 42, of Mechanic Falls were dismissed.
All three charges are misdemeanors.
Judd’s attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, said that his client would keep his job but would be suspended without pay for 60 days. He is expected to return to work in mid-February.
Judd has been undergoing counseling to address his drinking, McKee said.
On Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor, the warden was sentenced to a deferred disposition. If he continues counseling and conditions imposed by Maine Pretrial Services, Judd would pay a $300 fine in nine months but face no jail time.
In accepting the plea agreement Wednesday at the Penobscot Judicial Center, District Court Judge Bruce Jordan said, “This kind of behavior from a law enforcement officer is not only disappointing, it’s disturbing.”
Penobscot County District Attorney Marianne Lynch said after the hearing that the woman who reported that Judd slapped her buttocks and reached under her shorts during the Florida Georgia Line concert at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion — along with members of the Bangor Police Department — was unhappy with the plea agreement.
But because all of the alleged crimes were misdemeanors, Lynch said she did not have the option of placing Judd on probation with conditions similar to those included in his pretrial services contract. She said the plea agreement met one of the sentencing goals under Maine law — rehabilitation.
“This was a serious incident,” Lynch said. “This was not acceptable behavior, but he has taken steps to address his alcohol use. He was obnoxiously intoxicated, but I don’t think this incident is a reflection of the entire Maine Warden Service.”
She said that Judd’s plea agreement was similar to others in which the defendant had no criminal history and agreed to seek treatment for a substance use disorder.
Judd’s next court date is Oct. 5.
McKee said that Judd began counseling after the incident without being ordered to do so by a judge. Conditions of his contract with pretrial services include that he check in regularly with the office, continue his counseling, not drink alcohol and undergo random testing for alcohol use.
Judd is currently serving the suspension from the warden service as a result of an investigation by the Maine State Office of Employee Relations, according to Mark Latti, communication director for the warden service’s parent agency, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. That investigation was independent of the court proceeding.
Judd faces additional scrutiny, Latti said Wednesday.
The Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which certifies all Maine law enforcement officers, also will review the incident.
He was placed on paid administrative shortly after the July concert, Latti said, and has not been working as a warden since then.
Judd and other wardens were off duty at the July 18, 2019, show on the Bangor Waterfront when the alleged crimes took place. He was not arrested but was issued a summons on the assault and disorderly conduct charges. The Penobscot County district attorney’s office later added the unlawful sexual touching charge.
After Judd’s court appearance, Bangor police released redacted copies of reports officers wrote about the incident in response to a request for them under Maine’s Freedom of Access law.
In the reports, several officers observed that Judd was “visibly intoxicated” with eyes that were glassy and bloodshot.
He was “unsteady on his feet [and] slurred his words,” the reports said.
Police confiscated a half-full bottle of Knob Creek whiskey from Judd at the venue, which does not allow patrons to bring alcohol onto the site.
After Judd was issued a summons, he became verbally abusive with Officer Joshua Kuhn, the reports said.
“He then shouted at me that he was one of the officers that captured [redacted], he was out there keeping us safe and we were all a ‘f***ing disgrace to law enforcement among other profanities,” Kuhn wrote in his report.
In April 2018, Judd was part of the search team that found John D. Williams after the 31-year-old killed Cpl. Eugene Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office in Norridgewock. Judd testified at Williams’ trial.
Judd has been with the Maine Warden Service for more than 15 years. He’s received warden service recognition in that time and been a public face for the law enforcement agency on national television.
If convicted of assault or unlawful sexual touching, both Class D crimes, Judd would have faced up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. The disorderly conduct charge to which he pleaded guilty carried a maximum sentence of six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.