SOUTH PARIS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A member of a union that represents sheriffs and their deputies called for Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant to resign Friday after he received claims that the sheriff sent inappropriate messages or pictures of himself to at least one employee, and a girlfriend of another employee, and asked them for sex.
Gallant is currently under investigation by an attorney representing Oxford County, according to county administrator Scott Cole. Cole said the investigation stems from information the county commissioners received in early November, but would not say what specifically that information was, nor if it was the allegations that sparked the investigation.
"The county officials felt compelled to take the action they did, given the information they were presented with," said Cole.
According to Cole, the investigation began before Gallant admitted to sending a picture of his genitalia to an unnamed person from his office and reportedly propositioning at least two employees for sex.
Ray Cote, a representative of Teamsters Local 340, a union that represents deputies, told NEWS CENTER Friday that at least one Oxford County employee has made accusations against Sheriff Gallant.
"I believe the county commissioners should act on the evidence they have presented before them as far as the inappropriate pictures that have been sent out by the Sheriff," said Cote. "I believe the county commissioner should make a recommendation to the Governor that the Sheriff should be removed. He should resign or be removed from office."
Cote also said he believes the chief deputy was aware of the situation and did nothing and that he should be removed as well.
Oxford County Chief Deputy Hart Daley responded, saying in an e-mail:
"I can not speak on behalf of Sheriff Gallant. I can state that I was completely unaware of these alleged allegations and other issues until they were made public. I never discussed any of these issues with the Sheriff and had no previous knowledge of the situation. I am always available for my employees to address concerning issues. I was never approached by a single employee or union representative expressing concern about the actions of the Sheriff regarding these allegations. I certainly would not condone these actions but we will have to wait for all the facts to surface after the conclusion of the commissioner's investigation.
What I will convey is that as the Chief Deputy, my responsibility is to run the day to day operations of the Sheriff's Office. I fully intend to make sure that the agency continues to run efficiently, effectively and professionally during this most difficult time and in the aftermath."
Cote said he believes more allegations will come out in the next couple of days.
"They're scared. A lot of them are scared. The more of this that comes out -- I think that people will gain courage and will come forward," said Cote.
He said he started hearing rumors about Gallant's pictures around November 1. He said he began his own investigation, and then about a week later, he saw inappropriate pictures of Gallant.
Gallant told Oxford County Commissioners about the lewd text. Oxford County Administrator Scott Cole said Gallant told them he "'made a bad move', told us what had happened...he owned it and that was that."
The Maine Sheriff's Association named Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce as its acting president and is condemning Gallant's actions.
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