January 30, 2013

Westbrook, Gorham firefighter charged with fabricating assault

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

GORHAM — A 22-year-old Gorham woman faces charges of filing a false report after initially telling police she was attacked by two unknown men in a pickup.

Police say Rachael Welsh, a Westbrook firefighter/paramedic, reported being assaulted and nearly abducted at 6:17 p.m. on Dec. 23. She was taken to the hospital to be treated for a minor cut and bruise, police said.

Investigators searched for men matching the description but also examined inconsistencies in Welsh's story, said Det. Sgt. Dana Thompson. Police ultimately determined she had made up the story and on Dec. 26 issued her a summons to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of filing a false report, he said.

"Given the panic this type of report could cause a neighborhood or community, we treat it very seriously," Thompson said. Police did not publicize the alleged attack because they were skeptical, though they investigated aggressively, Thompson said.

Police held off announcing the charge because they were completing their investigation and presenting the information to the District Attorney's Office, Thompson said.

Welsh's Facebook page says she has worked with the Westbrook Fire Department since 2011 and has been a member of the Gorham Fire Rescue Department since 2008.

Welsh is currently on paid administrative leave pending an internal inquiry, according to a Westbrook human resources official, Liam Gallagher.

Police declined to speculate on Welsh's alleged motive.

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