PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine man who was falsely accused of reckless conduct and criminal threatening five years ago has been awarded $90,000 in damages from the lawsuit filed against his accusers.
U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ruled John Charron was a victim of “classic malicious prosecution.”
Two men, identified as Christopher Moss and Eric Pilvelait, submitted false statements that led to Charron’s arrest, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Deputies investigated the scene and determined Charron drove his tow truck at the Pontiac Sunfire the two men were in after an altercation.
Judge Woodcock’s decision cleared the deputies of any wrongdoing while acknowledging the failures in the investigation.
“The utter falsity and extreme seriousness of these allegations establish Mr. Moss and Mr. Pilvelait acted with malice and without probable cause,” Woodcock wrote. “Mr. Moss and Mr. Pilvelait’s intent to shift criminal responsibility for the Sunfire’s demise onto Mr. Charron and away from their own acts, which they may have committed while under the influence of alcohol, further supports the Court’s finding that they acted with malice.”
Woodcock found that the men “weaponized the legal process to deprive” Charron of his right to due process.
Charron said Thursday that he’s pleased with the judgment even though there is no guarantee he will see any of the money if the men cannot pay.
Charron’s attorney, Greg McCullough, is appealing the part of the decision that granted the sheriff’s deputies qualified immunity.
“The police were supposed to be the check here and they failed miserably,” he said.
John Wall, an attorney for the York County deputies who were named in the lawsuit, declined to comment.