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Maine’s law enforcement certification board temporarily suspended the license of a game warden for inappropriately touching a woman during a 2019 concert on the Bangor waterfront, meaning he will be unable to work for 120 days.
The discipline is part of a civil agreement reached last week between Jeremy Judd of Mechanic Falls and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Board of Trustees. The academy’s decision prompted the Maine Warden Service to place Judd on administrative leave for the second time in 18 months.
Notably, the academy found the warden responsible for an assault that he avoided being convicted of in criminal court earlier this year. Judd had faced misdemeanor charges of assault and unlawful sexual touching based on his actions toward a woman who attended the concert. But he ultimately only pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct as part of a plea deal struck with prosecutors.
The academy conducted an independent investigation of what happened at the concert to determine whether to discipline Judd outside of the court process. It outlined those findings in its Dec. 10 disciplinary agreement.
On July 18, 2019, Judd got extremely drunk while attending a Florida Georgia Line concert at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion with a group of other off-duty wardens. While waiting in line for a beer, he “intentionally made offensive physical contact with a female concertgoer who walked past him,” the academy found.
Specifically, the woman told a group of nearby Bangor police officers that Judd reached up her shorts and grabbed her bottom.
When the police confronted Judd, he identified himself as a warden and grew verbally abusive, at one point slurring profanities and calling the cops a disgrace to law enforcement, according to the agreement and one officer’s written report. Bangor officers issued him a summons for assault that night. After reviewing the case, the Penobscot County district attorney’s office filed two more misdemeanor charges against him, for disorderly conduct and unlawful sexual touching.
However, in January, prosecutors dismissed the charges of assault and unlawful sexual touching after Judd accepted a plea deal in which he only pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. He also received a deferred disposition, meaning if he continued to pursue counseling for his substance use and abided by other terms of the court for nine months, he would be allowed to pay $300 fine and avoid jail time.
He paid the fine in November, officially closing his criminal case.
Meanwhile, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, whose 17-member board has the authority to punish certified Maine law enforcement officers for criminal conduct, determined in the course of its own investigation that there was enough evidence to discipline Judd for the crime of assault at its lower standard of proof.
Unlike a prosecutor, the academy doesn’t need to prove Judd’s conduct beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, the academy only needs to prove his actions by a preponderance of evidence, or that they were more likely than not to have happened.
Judd neither admitted to nor denied inappropriately touching the woman, but he acknowledged that the academy had enough evidence to prove he assaulted the woman if the parties went to a civil hearing on the matter, according to the disciplinary agreement. He admitted to the rest of the academy’s timeline of events, including that he was intoxicated and argumentative with the Bangor officers who dealt with him.
Instead of holding a hearing on the matter, the academy and Judd reached an agreement to suspend Judd’s law enforcement certificate for 120 days, starting on Dec. 10.
The agreement places Judd’s law enforcement certification on probation for five years, during which he is required to continue treatment for substance use until his current counselor deems it is no longer necessary. He must also avoid contact with the woman, and his certificate is subject to immediate suspension if he receives any new criminal charges.
When the agreement took effect, the warden service placed Judd back on administrative leave for the time his certificate is under suspension, said Mark Latti, a spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which oversees the law enforcement bureau. Judd had been on administrative leave after the concert and had returned to work in mid-February when he accepted the plea deal.
During this second leave of absence, Judd will not receive any pay for “approximately” half of his time off and use his accrued time off to cover the rest of it, Latti said.
Correction: An earlier version of this report incorrectly Jeremy Judd would receive pay during half of his 120-day suspension.