The Millinocket police chief who was accused of creating a hostile work environment and sexually harassing his deputy chief has been fired, interim Town Manager Annette Padilla said Tuesday.
Craig Worster allegedly sexually harassed Deputy Police Chief Janet Theriault and used police department resources to eavesdrop on town employees illegally.
Michael Winslow will serve as interim chief, Padilla said.
“We want you to know that we have acted in the best interest of the community and have the public health and safety needs as our top priority at the town,” Padilla said in a post on the town’s Facebook page.
Worster’s dismissal is the second firing of a town official in less than three months.
Former Town Manager John Davis was fired in September in a 6-1 vote by the town council. Davis had been under fire the previous few months over the hiring of Worster in 2019.
A notice of claim filed by Davis and Worster alleging that Theriault, her attorney and union representatives sought to harm Worster’s reputation by obtaining his prior employment records and publicly disseminating them even though they provided “not a complete and accurate representation of the underlying situations” is still pending.
Davis and Worster have not yet filed a court complaint against the defendants. A notice of claim is the first step in a lawsuit before a formal complaint is filed in court.
Theriault filed an 85-page complaint earlier this year alleging that Worster had bullied, harassed and behaved abusively toward suspects and community members. She said she was unable to return to work after Worster allegedly treated her abusively in public earlier this year on Feb. 3.
That instance, according to the complaint, was the latest in a series of similar incidents with the chief.
Shortly before his firing, Davis dismissed the complaint against Worster and decided against disciplining the chief.
Davis’ attorney, Ezra Willey of Bangor, said in September that his firing was “retaliation” for closing the independent investigation that Theriault, her attorney and a union representative had initiated against Worster.
Davis had been accused of not vetting Worster properly before hiring him in April 2019, and had “failed to address glaring issues about his employment history.”
Worster was placed on administrative leave four years ago while employed at the Ridgefield Police Department in Connecticut for harassing female employees. He also was the subject of disciplinary action in Wiscasset when he worked for that department from 2016 to 2018.