A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that a Sagadahoc County woman can proceed with a lawsuit that accuses male corrections officers at the Two Bridges Regional Jail of violating her rights and breaking her coccyx.

Candace Faller of Woolwich filed a civil complaint against the jail in U.S. District Court in February 2021 over a 2016 incident in which male corrections officers at the jail in Wiscasset used physical force to hold her down for a body search, despite her protestations that, as a rape victim, she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and could not handle interacting with “aggressive or physically intimidating men who are in close proximity to her.”

Faller specifically argues that the jail violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to have a female officer involved in the hands-on aspects of the booking to accommodate her PTSD.

Attorneys for the jail requested that U.S. District Judge George Singal dismiss the case, arguing that the restraint used against Faller was “necessary for the safe operation of the jail,” and that her request to be searched by a female officer was “not reasonable” and would have required the jail to “fundamentally alter the nature of the service it was providing.”

But on Friday, Singal denied the jail’s motion, writing that the issues presented by both sides merit consideration from a jury. The judge ordered that attorneys for Faller and the jail be ready for trial as soon as Oct. 3.

The case centers on what happened on April 28, 2016, after a female Wiscasset police officer pulled over Faller, who was then 44, for driving erratically.


Faller failed a sobriety test and was taken to Two Bridges Regional Jail, according to court documents. Faller was charged with operating under the influence.

The jail’s policy at the time required that officers conduct a “pat search” for each new person being arrested. The search requires the person being arrested to stand with hands against the wall and feet shoulder-width apart so an officer can search for any items that might pose a threat either to the person who has been arrested or to others.

Faller’s lawsuit states that it was not unusual at the time for officers to wait for a member of the same sex to conduct the search and to do it later in the booking process. But the jail has noted that its policy also allows an officer to go ahead and pat down someone of the opposite sex if that person is being uncooperative.

Faller was waiting in a room at the jail with the female officer who had arrested her when corrections officer Paul Rubashkin asked if he could take Faller to the entryway to begin the booking process.

Faller told Rubashkin that she had PTSD, “which made it very difficult for her to be around men who she perceived to be domineering or physically or verbally aggressive,” according to her complaint.

When she refused to go with him, Rubashkin grabbed her by the arm and escorted her out of the room with two other male officers present, the complaint states, and she again told officers about her rape-related PTSD, while struggling against Rubashkin’s grip.


Rubashkin then decided to take Faller to a secure holding cell because of her lack of cooperation, according to court records from the jail.

In his ruling, the judge referred to video footage viewed by the court. He said that Rubashkin could be seen in the video holding Faller against a padded wall for 25 seconds, with her arms restrained behind her back. As Rubashkin released her arms, she turned around, pointed her finger in his face and told him not to touch her. As she moved away from Rubashkin, flailing her arms, the officer pushed her into a seated position and restrained her arms in front of her body.

At this point, Rubashkin and Faller were surrounded by three other male officers, according to the judge’s summary of the video. More officers, all male, approached the cell while Rubashkin told Faller to get on her hands and knees on a mattress in the cell. One officer was Steven Schutt, the shift commander on duty.

When Faller didn’t comply with Rubashkin’s orders, Rubashkin grabbed her by the arms, led her onto the mattress and tried forcing her into a position so he could conduct a search, the judge wrote. Two other male officers helped Rubashkin as Faller tried to twist her body away.

Then a female corrections officer, Naomi Bonang, entered the cell and informed Faller that she would do the pat-down. The male officers continued to restrain Faller for two minutes, “using their hands and knees” and removing her shoes, while Bonang began patting her down, according to Singal’s summary of the video.

“Several of the male officers restraining (her) touched her hair, breast and inner thigh,” Singal wrote, referencing Faller’s 2021 complaint.


Bonang then asked the officers to let go of Faller. She conducted the rest of her search.

In reports filed after the incident, which Singal mentioned in his ruling, Rubashkin said he used physical force to “place intoxicated inmate in holding cell.” Schutt said force was used “to secure (and) search inmate.”

After her release from Two Bridges the following day, Faller noted in her complaint, that she had bruises on her body. She said she later discovered at the hospital that her coccyx was broken.

An attorney for the jail did not respond Monday to a request for an interview about Singal’s ruling.

The Lincoln Sagadahoc Regional Jail Authority, which oversees Two Bridges, didn’t respond to phone calls or emails asking for information on the jail’s policy for pat searches.


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