Kennebunk Savings bank has parted ways with a high-ranking executive whose personal Facebook page contained anti-Muslim images.

The bank announced in a statement on its website and Facebook page Friday that it was no longer employing a staff member whose “personal Facebook page contained some disturbing and offensive images.” The bank did not identify the employee or say whether the employee resigned or was fired. But the Maine Beacon, a liberal website, named the employee and identified her as a high-ranking official, and also published the offending images that appeared on her Facebook page.

The Portland Press Herald is not identifying the former executive because the bank did not name her and the newspaper could not reach her or independently confirm that the Facebook posts came from her.

A Kennebunk Savings customer told the Press Herald that he made the bank aware via Facebook of the anti-Muslim images.

Kennebunk Savings had announced in a news release last month the promotion of the woman named in the Maine Beacon story to a top position. News of the promotion was published in Kennebunk-area newspapers in August and on the bank’s website and Facebook page. After the announcement of the promotion, bank officials learned of the images on the woman’s Facebook page.

“As you might imagine, our first reaction is one of dismay and disappointment,” Brad Paige, president and CEO of the bank, said in a written statement. “We expect all of our employees to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and respect. The images are not appropriate, the themes portrayed in the images are unacceptable to the Board of Directors, our management team and our employees and in no way reflect the view of values of Kennebunk Savings.”

The bank said in its statement that “the employee mentioned in the press release is no longer with the company.”

The statement said the bank “will not tolerate harassment, bullying, workplace violence or discrimination of any type. Kennebunk Savings has a long-standing tradition of serving our community and we believe anyone who has first-hand knowledge of our institution knows us for our core values of honesty, integrity and inclusiveness and our steadfast commitment to our employees, customers and community.”

Heather Harris, vice president of corporate communications at Kennebunk Savings, said Saturday that the bank would not reveal the name of the employee.

A Kennebunk Savings customer, Justin Steele of Portland, said Saturday that the bank was acting on information he provided to it.

Steele, 29, who grew up in Berwick and now works as a software architect and consultant for Idexx, said he came across the offensive postings after reading about the woman’s promotion. He said he follows Kennebunk Savings on Facebook as a bank customer. He wanted to learn more about the woman’s career path and found a link to her Facebook page through a congratulatory comment posted on the bank’s Facebook announcement of the promotion.

“I clicked on thinking this is great (for the executive) and it was roughly the fourth public post when I scrolled down and ‘whoa,’ ” Steele said.

He then took a screen shot of the offensive anti-Muslim material, originally posted by the woman two years ago, and posted it on the bank’s Facebook page to see what the bank thought about it.

“I looked back a little later. I noticed it was deleted and I got frustrated and posted it in on my page,” said Steele, who has not communicated directly with the bank.

By the next day, the announcement of the executive’s promotion had also been deleted from the bank’s Facebook page and website.

Steele said he grappled with his decision to alert the bank about the Facebook posting.

“I am sympathetic to anyone being fired, but when they are in a position of such power and authority it feels like it was the right thing for them to do,” he said.

Steele also was surprised by the bank’s quick action.

“They took swift action, which I did not expect,” he said.

Harris said the bank acted quickly in order to uphold its core values and reputation. She said the executive’s departure came within three days of when the bank heard from multiple Facebook users about the anti-Muslim postings on the woman’s Facebook page.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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