A top drug agent in Maine’s midcoast said Monday that an Episcopal priest who was charged with drug trafficking earlier this month mailed drugs to a jail inmate with whom he was friendly.

James Pease, supervisor of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency office covering Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties, also said more charges will be filed in the case but would not say who will be charged.

The Rev. Stephen Foote, 70, of Bremen was arrested Nov. 1 and charged with trafficking in prison contraband. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office alleges that Foote sent Suboxone strips into the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

Pease said Foote concealed the drug in letters to Joshua Theriault-Patten, 25, of Bremen, an inmate with whom he had a friendship.

Foote’s attorney, William Avantaggio of Newcastle, said Monday, “I don’t have any reason to believe it happened more than once.”

Foote, who was released on unsecured bail after his arrest, was placed on administrative leave by the Episcopal Diocese of Maine. He was serving as a transition priest at St. Mark’s Church in Augusta.

Foote retired in 2003 as dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke in Portland and had been serving at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church since January, according to church officials.

Theriault-Patten and another inmate, Adam Shawley, 27, of Newport, are charged with attempted trafficking in prison contraband.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Murphy has said Shawley didn’t know Foote but associated with Theriault-Patten in jail.

Pease said the inmates were abusing the drugs and may have been selling the drugs in jail.

Central to the case is where Foote got the drugs for the inmates, who have histories of drug-related offenses.

Authorities do know that Foote got the drugs, Pease said, though he wouldn’t say how except that they weren’t prescribed to Foote.

Pease said Foote was given a contact outside the jail, from whom he got the drugs.

Some information from Pease contradicts what Murphy said publicly — that drugs were exchanged during Foote’s visits to the jail. Murphy also told the Kennebec Journal that he didn’t think the inmates were distributing the drugs in jail.

 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

mshepherd@mainetoday.com