A former Ogunquit Select Board member was charged this week with stalking after allegedly sending anonymous letters to Planning Board members that prompted complaints of harassment.

Ogunquit police Lt. Matt Buttrick said he issued a summons for stalking to 77-year-old David Barton on Feb. 7. The charge was filed in connection with a complaint about letters sent to multiple Planning Board members, he said.

The letters have not been made public, but were described by some officials as containing a variety of messages and enclosures. One recent letter that included references to a “Godfather” movie was considered threatening and prompted officials to consider canceling a public meeting, they said.

Buttrick said police continue to look into the letters and he could not provide additional information about the investigation.

Barton is a former member of the Ogunquit Select Board. He lost his 2016 re-election campaign to current Select Board member Rick Dolliver.

The charge against Barton comes in the midst of months of intense political turmoil in the smallest town in York County. Three of the five members of the Ogunquit Select Board are facing a possible recall election, but a judge in York County Superior Court this week temporarily stopped town officials from setting an election date after a group of residents sued the town over the recall process.

The recall process, which started in October after the Select Board voted to uphold the town manager’s termination of the fire chief, has been beset with accusations of harassment and intentional spreading of misinformation from people on both sides of the issue.

Barton declined to comment on the allegations when reached by phone Friday afternoon.

Planning Board chairman Steve Wilkos and vice chairman Rusty Hayes said they each received anonymous handwritten letters in recent months that they perceived as harassing and threatening in nature. Board member Mark MacLeod also received at least one anonymous letter, Hayes said.

All three men either signed or circulated recall petitions.

The letters prompted Wilkos and Hayes to consider canceling a Planning Board meeting scheduled for next Monday. Hayes said three letters have been received by board members in the past week.

“Whoever was sending these was really ramping it up,” Hayes said. “It went from intimidating us to terrorizing us.”

Wilkos said he received a postcard last week that had been mailed from Ogunquit and contained references to a “Godfather” movie. He perceived the note, which included words bolded in dark marker, as threatening.

“I immediately became concerned for my personal safety and the safety of the Planning Board,” Wilkos said.

Other letters and postcards received by board members referenced a woman who went missing from Massachusetts more than 20 years ago. A letter sent to MacLeod was made up of old newspaper clippings, Hayes said.

Hayes said he received an envelope in his post office box about a month ago that contained two blank pieces of paper.

“I couldn’t see anything in there, but I felt it was meant to intimidate me and that there could be a substance in there,” he said.

Hayes said he placed the envelope in a plastic bag and contacted the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. He has since met with a postal inspector. All letters received by the board members have been turned over to police or the postal inspector.

Wilkos and Hayes met this week with police and Town Manager Patricia Finnigan, who they said took the situation seriously. The summons was issued to Barton several hours after the meeting.

Barton is scheduled to appear May 7 in York District Court.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian


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