A Woolwich woman has alleged in a lawsuit that Wiscasset County jail officers used so much force during a pat-down following an OUI arrest that they broke her coccyx, leading to months of “unbearable” pain in her lower back.

But it was the nausea, the difficulty breathing and the racing heart – all symptoms of a panic attack – that she most remembered, Candace Faller said during testimony Monday on the opening day of the civil trial on her lawsuit.

Faller, who has post-traumatic stress disorder, filed a civil complaint against Two Bridges Regional Jail in U.S. District Court last year, alleging the jail violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing a female officer to help with any hands-on searches.

Faller is suing for compensatory damages, to be determined by the jury, and asking that the jail develop and provide staff with adequate training for people with disabilities.

Faller told jurors that her PTSD stems from a long history of sexual abuse, dating back as early as when she was 7 years old. As a result, she said, being near large, aggressive-seeming men triggers panic attacks.

She told this to corrections officers in 2016, when she was brought to the jail on an OUI charge. Citing her PTSD, she asked for a female officer to conduct the pat-down – a “reasonable accommodation” that public agencies are required to provide under federal law, according to Faller’s attorney Samuel Riotte.


Instead, three male officers physically restrained her and brought her to a separate holding cell, where Faller said they held her against the wall, forced her into a sitting position and later forced her onto her hands and knees.

“Female officers handle female detainees. It was easy to do,” Riotte said, citing what was already a policy at the jail. “At most it would’ve required a little bit of patience. But the male guards didn’t have patience for [Faller].”

Peter Marchesi, the attorney representing the jail, said in court that Faller was given “multiple opportunities, on multiple occasions” to comply with the officers’ orders and that the force used against her was a consequence of her resistance. In cross-examination, Marchesi suggested Faller’s recollection of her arrest was imperfect. The corrections officer who was in charge of booking Faller testified that he saw her assault another officer before she was carried away.


Faller was arrested on the morning of April 28, 2016, after Wiscasset police pulled her over for operating under the influence. Police, including one female officer, brought Faller to Two Bridges Regional Jail after she failed a sobriety test.

Once at the jail, Faller said, she remembered corrections officer Paul Rubashkin yelling at her for not blowing enough air into the breathalyzer machine. Marchesi said she refused to breathe into it.


Rubashkin, who no longer works for Two Bridges Regional Jail and is now a private investigator in Gardiner, is expected to testify later this week.

Rubashkin sat quietly beside Marchesi for much of the trial Monday, though he is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Faller said she told Rubashkin she needed a female officer for the hands-on portion of her booking process. Rubashkin left, Faller said, and she assumed it was to retrieve a female colleague. Instead, he returned with two men. When she didn’t agree to follow them, Faller said, Rubashkin grabbed her by the arm and pulled her, flailing, into the next room.

What happened next was all captured on the jail’s surveillance cameras: Rubashkin held Faller against the wall. Faller said she remembered him throwing her against the wall, adding that the video doesn’t show the force she felt. Officers then brought Faller into a holding cell. They testified Monday that this was because she was being uncooperative, and it was a safer place to restrain her.

In the video, Faller is again held to the wall, then forced into a seated position, and then forced onto her hands and knees on a mattress.  A couple of small, dark objects were flung from where Faller was being held down. She said they were removing her shoes and jewelry.

She said she could feel the men “groping” her, which officer Jonathan Flavin – one of the three men restraining her – disputed in his testimony Monday afternoon.


At one point, pinned against the wall, she said she could hear and feel something in her back crack. At the hospital a couple of days later, she would learn her tailbone, or coccyx, was broken.

“I felt threatened,” she testified. “I felt like I was being attacked. Of course my back hurt, I had all these men touching me and they had their hands all over my body. I was terrified, absolutely terrified. I was shaking, I was crying I was hyperventilating … All I could do was scream at the top of my lungs, hoping someone could help me.”

Once Faller was on the bed, a female officer, Naomi Bonang, arrived to finish the search. She is also expected to testify later this week. Faller told the jury Monday that at no point when she was being handled by the male officers did they tell her that a female officer would eventually arrive.

When the search ended, Faller said, she was placed in her own cell, rocking back and forth on her hands and knees, because it was the only position where she could manage her back pain.

Her boyfriend took her home the next day.



Marchesi questioned Faller’s memory of the entire incident, citing her OUI arrest and behavior toward arresting officers.

Faller said she hadn’t had anything to drink that morning, but had consumed about four drinks the night before and she figures her body was still processing the alcohol when officers pulled her over.

“Do you believe that your memory on April 28, 2016, was affected by being intoxicated or by being under the influence of drugs?” Marchesi asked Faller.

“No,” she said.

Marchesi said police reports documented Faller almost hit the patrol car that pulled her over, she had multiple open containers in her car, and made statements to officers that she had a gun in her car – none was found.

He said she attempted to bring a plastic bag of pills with her. Faller said it was her anxiety medication.

She managed to slip out of her handcuffs at one point – Faller claimed they were applied too loosely and fell off.

In his testimony, Flavin, one of the officers who restrained her, said Faller was a safety risk. He said officers have to pat down all detainees because it’s impossible to know based on appearance who might be armed and a risk to themselves or others.

Riotte asked him what the harm would’ve been in waiting for Bonang before physically restraining Faller and bringing her to the holding cell. Flavin said it would have been unsafe to wait.

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