August 3, 2011

Kennebunk officer on leave amid probe of off-duty conduct

The leave coincides with an altercation between Joshua Morneau and his girlfriend's ex-husband.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Officer Joshua Morneau remains on administrative leave from the Kennebunk Police Department pending an internal investigation into his alleged off-duty conduct.

Morneau was put on leave with pay about two weeks ago, pending the outcome of the investigation, which is expected to be complete within a week, said Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee.

He would not disclose what prompted the inquiry, other than to say that it was brought to the department's attention by Morneau himself and that the investigation so far does not indicate a violation of law or department policy.

The timing of the administrative leave coincides with an altercation between Morneau and his girlfriend's ex-husband at a health center in Saco.

Morneau, 27, has had a protection-from-harassment order against Patrick Donahue, 27, for the past year, since an altercation at Morneau's former home in Kennebunk.

Saco Police Chief Brad Paul would say little about the investigation into the altercation July 20.

Officers went to the Kimball Health Center on Lincoln Street for a report of a disturbance, he said. Initially, the officers put one of the men in handcuffs but after further investigation released him, Paul said.

Details of the incident have been referred to the York County District Attorney's Office, which is expected to report back this week or next, he said.

Morneau has sought an extension of the protection order against Donahue and has filed a description of the incident July 20 in support of it.

Donahue also has filed for a protection order, with a somewhat different version of the same incident.

According to a review of the court records, the men agree that Donahue was at an appointment at the health center and, when he came out, Morneau was in the lobby waiting for his own appointment.

A verbal confrontation led Morneau to call police and accuse Donahue of violating the protection-from-harassment order.

Morneau says Donahue was threatening and, after Morneau called police to report the incident, Donahue attacked him. Morneau says he subdued Donahue and held him until police arrived.

Donahue says Morneau identified himself when reporting the incident as an off-duty police officer who was reporting someone violating a protection order. Morneau did not indicate that he was a party to the dispute, Donahue says. He says it was Morneau who then attacked him.

In his application, Donahue noted that Morneau was under investigation for the shooting of a Kennebunk woman and said he is in fear of him. On Tuesday, however, the Attorney General's office ruled that Morneau was justified in using deadly force in that situation. 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: dhench@pressherald.com

This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 3 to correct the name of Brad Paul and to clarify that the Attorney General's investigation into a Kennebunk shooting has been completed.

 

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