HALLOWELL — The City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Wednesday to discuss whether officials should more widely share investigative documents regarding an officer’s sexual assault allegation against Police Chief Eric Nason, a councilor said.

Last week, Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney agreed to give the city Maine State Police reports from an investigation stemming from a female Hallowell police officer’s sexual assault allegation against Nason in June 2013. The case was closed in October with no charges filed against the chief.

Nason denied the allegation and still supervises the officer, who has said through her attorney that she stands by the complaint.

In the city’s request for the records, sent by Mayor Mark Walker last month, he said only four city officials – the mayor, City Manager Michael Starn, City Attorney Erik Stumpfel and Councilor George Lapointe, head of the city’s personnel committee – would be able to see the investigation documents.

Walker and Lapointe have said they won’t view the files for now. The mayor wants to leave the review in the manager’s hands and Lapointe is chairman of the council committee that acts as the board that hears employee grievances.

On Friday, the city called a council meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall. One item – a closed session “to discuss a police department personnel issue” – is on the agenda. Walker and Starn wouldn’t comment on the agenda.


However, Councilor Alan Stearns said it was called to discuss wider dissemination of the reports among councilors, as well as to field other updates on city inquiries into Nason’s behavior, which includes a private investigator’s examination into a second complaint of sexual misconduct against the chief.

Stearns said the council should take a public vote to decide who among it and the mayor should be authorized to see the reports.

“I think it’s the city’s prerogative to determine who reviews the report, not the district attorney’s prerogative,” he said.

But Maloney said on Friday that her intent wasn’t to restrict the city’s access to the records – she simply responded to Walker’s request, which outlined which officials would see the documents.

The state has denied repeated requests from the Kennebec Journal for the same reports the city has, saying they are confidential under a privacy exemption in Maine access law. The newspaper sued the state for access to the records last month in Kennebec County Superior Court, saying the public’s interest in an official’s conduct trumps privacy concerns.

Maloney gave them to the city, saying while the records are confidential, she was comfortable providing them because Hallowell officials can’t publicize them. State law keeps most public personnel information confidential.


A lawyer for the Kennebec Journal said Maloney’s decision “to release the records to certain parties but not others” weakens the argument for denying them to the newspaper. Even though Maloney provided the documents to Hallowell with terms saying they would be shared with only the four city officials, those terms aren’t binding.

Starn wouldn’t discuss the council’s options at this point, only saying that councilors must discuss them and that the report was provided confidentially.

Maloney said as long as the city follows the law by keeping the documents confidential, she wouldn’t mind if other councilors saw the files after discussing it with the city attorney.

“That’s what they have to do,” Maloney said.

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