August 17, 2012

Clinton officer was arrested after his own wedding reception

Part-time officer Derek Levasseur, 37, of Benton is charged with domestic-violence assault and assault after a fight during his wedding reception.

By Ben McCanna bmccanna@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

CLINTON -- A reserve officer with the town's Police Department was arrested earlier this month after a fight at his own wedding reception.

Derek Levasseur, 37, of Benton, was arrested Aug. 10 on a misdemeanor charge of domestic-violence assault. He was also summonsed on Aug. 1 on four counts of misdemeanor assault stemming from the same incident, Maine State Police Sgt. Aaron Hayden said Thursday. A previous report said there were five counts of simple assault.

Hayden said he couldn't provide many details about the incident because it involved a juvenile, but the assaults occurred about 1 a.m. July 29 during Levasseur's wedding reception at a private residence on Railroad Street.

Four people were hurt during the fight -- an adolescent girl whom Hayden described as a family member and Clinton residents Brandon King, 21, Courtney Littlefield, 24, and Hannah Faulkner, 21. The injuries were described as minor.

Hayden said Levasseur was summonsed Aug. 1 on the simple assault charges, but police started building a case on the domestic-violence assault charge a few days later.

Hayden said the domestic-violence part came to light Aug. 3 or 4. "That was new information provided after statements were reviewed," he said.

State police had been in consultation with the district attorney's office beginning Aug. 1 and delivered a case report to the office on Aug. 6. Four days later, the office issued the domestic-violence assault charge.

Levasseur was processed at the Fairfield Police Department, where he posted $100 cash bail and was released, State Bail Comissioner Bill Cyr said. The terms of bail prohibit Levasseur from contact with the domestic-violence assault victim, possession of weapons or consumption of alcohol or drugs.

Cyr said the bail amount was typical for charges of that nature. Bail commissioners consider several factors before setting bail, including any prior arrests or convictions, the seriousness of injuries, whether a weapon was used and more.

Acting District Attorney Alan Kelley said he couldn't comment on any decisions made by the bail commissioner, but he spoke in general terms.

"In a case like this, where there's an allegation of domestic assault and an offender has no prior criminal record, that's not an unusual bail," he said. "The primary concern is to get the bail conditions in place so the victim and the community are safe."

Kelley said the case probably would be prosectued in a different county because Levasseur's ex-wife works for the district attorney's office.

"We are asking that another district attorney's office review these charges and take over the prosecution. We don't want there to be any appearance of impropriety, and it would be a potential conflict if we were to prosecute this case," he said.

On Wednesday, Lt. Donald Pomelow said he couldn't provide a summary of the incident or arrest because the trooper's report wasn't complete. Hayden said he didn't know why a summary wasn't available.

"I'm really not sure where the problem was," he said. "I know that the officer that took care of the incident was on vacation and was not available for the last six days, so it could be that (Pomelow) wanted to make sure that everything was correct and accurate."

Clinton police Chief Craig Johnson said Levasseur is on unpaid administrative leave. Levasseur was hired by the town in February and works on a per diem basis. Johnson estimated Levasseur has worked fewer than 20 days since he was hired.

Town Manager Chrostowsky also couldn't comment on the case, but said the town would hold an internal investigation.

Levasseur also served for less than a year as a deputy for Kennebec County Sheriff's Office, according Capt. Dan Davies. The sheriff's office hired Levasseur in March 2010 and he resigned less than a year later. He graduated from the four-month basic law enforcement training program at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in December 2010.

Levasseur could not be reached by phone.

All charges are class D misdemeanors, each punishable by up to one year in jail and $2,000 in fines. Levasseur is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 2, Hayden said.

 

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