Z ${site.data.firmName}Est. 2001
Have a case? Call us:
207-775-4255
  • Hundreds of jury trials
  • Multi-millions in verdicts and settlements
  • Major not guilty verdicts
  • High stakes litigation

Seven current and former York County Jail guards indicted

BY SCOTT DOLAN
York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette says the indictments against the officers and three others stem from smuggling contraband into the jail.

ALFRED - A Facebook photo of a jail inmate, posing with razor wire visible behind him, prompted an internal investigation at the York County Jail that led to the indictment of seven guards.

York County Sheriff Maurice Ouellette announced Friday that four current and three former corrections officers at the jail were indicted on criminal charges related to smuggling contraband to the inmate, including drugs, cigarettes and the cellphone he used to take the photo.

Ouellette said that one of the officers, Connor Bogan, who has since resigned, had been "manipulated" by the inmate to bring a small quantity of drugs - marijuana and suboxone - into the jail and that the other officers are accused of failing to report what they knew were violations.

Ouellette declined to say how the inmate, Chace Bellefountaine, who has since been released, was able to pressure Bogan into bringing him the drugs.

The investigation began after a law enforcement officer in the midcoast noticed a photo posted on Facebook that showed Bellefountaine inside the York County Jail. A search of Bellefountaine's Facebook page shows a photo of him, posing shirtless in a room with razor wire visible through a window in the background.

The four current corrections officers were placed on paid administrative leave after the indictments Thursday, Ouellette said. The other three resigned in either February or April.

Bellefountaine and another former inmate, Gregory Daniel Morin, also were indicted. One woman who was not an inmate, Mercedes Cullicutt, also has been indicted, Ouellette said.

"I want to assure the citizens that this is an isolated incident," he said. "This incident should not reflect poorly on the majority of our employees who come in day in and day out."

He said the investigation revealed that Bellefountaine had a cellphone while incarcerated and was also distributing drugs inside the jail.

"More disturbing at this point in time, information was gathered that alleged a corrections officer had been involved in introducing contraband into the facility on at least one occasion, took contraband out of the facility and delivered the contraband to an outside accomplice of Bellefountaine, Mercedes Cullicutt," Ouellette said.

Investigators initially searched Bellefountaine's cell looking for the contraband phone but were unable to find it. They then researched phone records, including Bellefountaine's phone contacts. Ouellette did not give details on how that led investigators to the guards' involvement.

"Due to the sensitive nature of this criminal investigation and the pending administrative actions that are certain to follow, I will not be able to share with you many of the details regarding how the grand jury came to their conclusions," he said.

After concluding its internal investigation, the sheriff's office turned over its findings to the York County District Attorney's Office to let prosecutors decide what charges to seek when presenting the cases before a grand jury this week.

The District Attorney's Office released the names and charges Friday.

Two of the guards, Bogan, 21, of Springvale, and Steven Thomas, 25, of Biddeford, each were indicted on a felony count of trafficking in prison contraband. Bogan also was charged with two misdemeanor drug possession counts. Thomas also faces misdemeanor charges of official oppression and conspiracy.

The other guards all face misdemeanor counts of official oppression. They are Jay Bondar, 30, of Ogunquit; Anthony Klingensmith, 42, of Sanford; Richard Lane, 43, of Parsonsfield; Christopher Langlais, 24, of Kennebunk; and Nathan Watson, 21, of Hiram.

Bondar faces an additional charge of falsifying or destroying evidence. Klingensmith, Lane and Langlais are charged with conspiracy as well.

Like Bogan, Bondar and Watson resigned from their jobs. Thomas, Klingensmith, Lane and Langlais are still jail employees, but are on paid leave and not currently working there.

The former inmate, Bellefountaine, 29, of Sanford, was indicted on two felony charges, trafficking in prison contraband and possession of suboxone, and a misdemeanor drug trafficking charge.

Cullicutt, 24, who lives at the same address as Bellefountaine, was charged with three felony charges, one count of trafficking in prison contraband and two counts of drug trafficking. She was also charged with a misdemeanor count of drug trafficking.

The other former inmate, Morin, 32, of Biddeford, was indicted on two misdemeanor drug possession charges.

Ouellette said he called the news conference Friday morning to "get ahead" of the story, and that the indictments are unrelated to criminal charges that have been filed against a former Department of Corrections prison guard who worked at the Southern Maine Re-entry Center facility located next door to the jail.

In the DOC case, a 23-year-old guard, Bret Butterfield, is accused of sexually assaulting a female inmate who was under his supervision.

Ouellette said he read the "no comment" statement the Department of Corrections spokesman made to the Portland Press Herald about Butterfield's case and wanted to be more transparent.

"I like to run an open ship. I like to let people know what happened and what we're doing about it," Ouellette said.

The York County Jail has a capacity of nearly 300 inmates and employs about 90 corrections officers.

Timothy E. Zerillo has been included in every edition of New England Super Lawyers since 2010, for his Super Lawyers page, go to http://www.superlawyers.com/maine/lawyer/Timothy-E-Zerillo/ab011be9-fc96-44e9-ad28-3956da48c1b4.html

Timothy E. Zerillo has a 10 out of 10 rating from AVVO.com - for his ratings page, go to http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/04112-me-timothy-zerillo-1844626.html

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information