April 3, 2013

Police drop case against Westbrook firefighter

They still believe Rachael Welsh filed a false assault report. An attorney says her name has been tainted.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Police have dropped their case against a Westbrook firefighter who was charged with falsely reporting an assault.

The Cumberland County District Attorney's Office last week dismissed the charge of filing a false report against Rachael Welsh, 22, of Gorham, according to her attorney, Bernard J. Broder III. A court summons was issued on Dec. 26.

"It is regrettable that the Gorham Police Department saw fit to issue a press release in this matter prior to its conclusion," Broder said in a written release. "Irreparable harm has been done to Ms. Welsh's reputation as a result."

Police said only that their investigation has been suspended and that they still believe they charged the right person.

Welsh reported that on Dec. 23 she was assaulted by two unknown men in a pickup truck who tried to abduct her. Police said she was treated for a minor cut and a bruise. They searched for the men but also examined inconsistencies in Welsh's story.

"The police report in this matter reveals that the department invested considerable resources in investigating a number of people in Ms. Welsh's personal life," Broder said. "It is unfortunate that invaluable time and resources were expended doing this rather than identifying and locating the individuals responsible for Ms. Welsh's injuries that night."

Broder released a one-page form indicating the charge was dropped because of "prosecutorial discretion."

District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said the dismissal does not mean that police believe Welsh's account.

"There really isn't any credible evidence that the assault, as she described it, occurred," Anderson said. "It's just that it's very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt something did not happen."

Gorham Detective Sgt. Dana Thompson said the department is not searching for any additional suspects, though he did not elaborate on what police believe happened.

"We believe that the information we provided is correct," Thompson said.

Welsh was on paid administrative leave during the investigation. Fire officials said Welsh has since returned to her job.

 

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

 

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