Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Melanie Creamer email@example.com
WESTBROOK - Two city firefighters were charged with crimes last week and placed on administrative leave, and a third firefighter was suspended after being accused of harassing a Portland social worker.
Richard Dorr, a call firefighter, went on unpaid leave after his arrest June 22. Dorr faces charges of domestic violence, criminal threatening and obstructing the report of a crime.
Police said that after Dorr's arrest, they were serving him with paperwork related to a protection from abuse order when they learned that his roommate, full-time firefighter James Gammon, had weapons in his possession. Gammon, who state records show has a 1983 felony conviction for robbery, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
Gammon was later placed on paid leave.
In an apparently unrelated matter, part-time firefighter James Harbaugh was placed on unpaid leave after a woman who works with his wife obtained a protection from harassment order against him. The woman, a social worker, contends in the order that Harbaugh threatened her.
The arrests came as the Fire and Rescue Department works to improve its public image in the wake of sexual harassment complaints that led to dismissals and other disciplinary actions against several department members.
Fire Chief Michael Pardue and City Manager Jerre Bryant declined to comment on the recent arrests and disciplinary measures.
According to the protection from abuse order obtained by his estranged wife, Dorr was arrested after a confrontation over the disposition of furniture in the couple's home on Vivian Street in Westbrook. The couple's two young sons were present.
"He was yelling at me at the top of his lungs saying don't get rid of my stuff," his wife, Jennifer Dorr, said in the order. "The two boys were crying and were scared."
She said Richard Dorr threw her cell phone across the room and stepped on it after she threatened to call police.
Richard Dorr can dispute the court's protection order at a hearing scheduled for July 9.
Gammon, his roommate, received a two-year suspended sentence and two years of probation after a 1983 felony conviction for a robbery in South Portland, according to State Bureau of Identification records.
Gammon joined the Westbrook fire department in May 1993 as a member of the call company. He became a full-time firefighter in 1998.
Kristy Gould, the city's director of human resources, said she didn't know whether the fire department did background checks when Gammon was hired. She said the city now has a commission that oversees the hiring of all public safety employees, and police do background checks on every prospective applicant.
"I will tell you something like this couldn't happen now," Gould said. "We have a very detailed and thorough process for hiring."
Gammon is a member of Teamsters Local 340, the union that represents firefighters and rescue workers. Dan Walsh, a business agent for the union, said he hasn't met with Gammon and did not know about the arrests.
Harbaugh, the third firefighter disciplined, allegedly harassed and threatened Kiely Geary, a social worker who shares an office with Harbaugh's wife, Jana.
In the protection order, Geary said that on June 8, Harbaugh threatened to remove her from her office. Geary said she was "scared of" Harbaugh and believes he "could hurt her."
Harbaugh has filed a motion to dissolve the order. A court hearing is scheduled for July 9.
Harbaugh declined to comment. Geary did not return calls seeking comment.
The Westbrook department recently completed a sexual harassment training and awareness program. The Center for Preventing Hate was paid $40,000 by the city to do an assessment of the department and conduct training.
Pardue said earlier this month that the training has empowered members to take responsibility for the culture and advancement of the organization. He said the department is moving forward.
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: