PARIS — Members of the Oxford County Commission voted unanimously Tuesday to ask Gov. Paul LePage to remove Wayne J. Gallant as Oxford County sheriff.

“The sheriff tolerated, engaged in and fostered inappropriate sexual conduct within the department and workplace in violation of law and county policy on sexual harassment, all of which it was the sworn duty of the sheriff to uphold and enforce,” states the complaint signed by all three commissioners and sent to the governor after a four-hour executive session.

The complaint asks that LePage “remove the sheriff from office and appoint another sheriff in that office for the remainder of his term,” which expires in 2018.

Last week, Gallant’s attorney, Jim Martemucci of Portland, said his client “absolutely” denies sexually harassing any sheriff’s office employees and “he certainly absolutely denies threatening termination of any employee with respect to any type of sexual allegation or solicitation.”

Gallant and Martemucci did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

The complaint says the commissioners learned over the course of a three-week investigation that Gallant, “while in uniform and in his office, sent a photograph to a female employee of another law enforcement agency in which his genitals were exposed.”

Gallant also sent “multiple text messages to a subordinate officer and his female companion containing other indecent photographs of himself, the solicitation of sex acts, and the solicitation of nude pictures from both of them,” the complaint states.

Commissioners also said Gallant sent “lewd text messages to subordinate employees that contained photographs of himself, and requested or suggested images of the employees in indecent poses.”

INVITATION FOR A THREESOME

The commissioners – Steven Merrill of Norway, Timothy Turner of Buckfield and David Duguay of Byron – declined further comment after the executive session.

The governor’s office also declined to comment.

“Now that this has been referred to the governor’s office and will require a legal proceeding, we cannot comment,” Julie Rabinowitz, the governor’s press secretary, said in an email Tuesday evening.

The commission investigated two complaints of sexual misconduct against Gallant, who has been sheriff since 2006. The complaints were made to county officials, said Ray Cote, business agent for Teamsters Local 340, a union that represents 23 officers of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

In one of the complaints, Gallant was alleged to have sent multiple sexually explicit photographs of himself to a male deputy’s girlfriend with a request that the three of them have sex together. When the deputy rebuffed the offer, he claims, Gallant threatened his job, Cote said.

In the second complaint, Gallant allegedly typed a message on a cellphone indicating he wanted to perform oral sex on a male employee, Cote said.

Bryan Dench, attorney for the Oxford County Commission, said that when allegations against Gallant first arose, he advised the commissioners to have the issue “investigated independently” so “there can be no question that the information the commissioners had was reliable.” The commissioners hired an outside investigator.

“The complaint speaks for itself,” Dench said.

On Nov. 21, before any of the complaints against Gallant became public, Gallant admitted to a TV news station that several years ago he had sent a sexually explicit photograph to a woman he did not identify. He then announced he was resigning as president of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association, but he maintained his position as county sheriff.

He also said during a county budget meeting that same night that he had done nothing illegal. “It was an adult thing that happened two years ago,” he told the Bangor Daily News.

Former Oxford County Sheriff Lloyd “Skip” Herrick supported the commissioners’ decision to request Gallant’s removal.

“I think the Oxford County Commission did the right thing,” he said.

EX-SHERIFF: REMOVAL WARRANTED

Herrick, who lives in Paris and represents District 73 in the Maine House of Representatives, said he wished that Gallant had stepped down from office for the sake of the residents of Oxford County and the integrity of the officers who serve under him, because now he’ll “be remembered for this” rather than his professional accomplishments, which Herrick said are numerous.

Herrick retired as sheriff in 2006. Although he has maintained relationships with some members of the sheriff’s office, he hasn’t talked to any of them about the accusations against Gallant.

Herrick said Gallant’s removal from office is warranted by his own admission that he sexted a photo of himself to a woman while in uniform.

“The act that he admitted he committed in the sheriff’s office on county property while in uniform was enough” for removal, Herrick said.

Now, Herrick said, “I hope the governor does what he needs to do.”

Gallant ran for office as a Democrat, which means the governor could ask the Democratic Party to put forward a nominee. But Herrick said the governor would not necessarily be bound by that recommendation and could select someone of his own choosing to step into the void if he decides to remove Gallant.