A federal judge in Bangor has dismissed a lawsuit against a former state judge by two women who accused him of sexually harassing them at a conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

U.S. District Judge Lance Walker ruled that the women – Samantha Pike, a drug and alcohol treatment counselor, and Natasha Irving, the district attorney for Waldo, Lincoln, Knox and Sagadahoc counties – had no standing to sue former Bangor District Judge Charles Budd and dismissed their case.

The women said Budd sexually propositioned them, often in front of other colleagues. Pike, whose interactions with Budd made up most of the complaint, described a history of similar harassment before and after the Nashville trip.

Budd has denied all of the allegations. He is no longer on the bench, giving up his seat in February after he was put on administrative leave last year and then didn’t apply for a second seven-year term, Barbara Cardone, spokesperson for Maine Judicial Branch, confirmed Wednesday.

His attorneys had argued that the case should be dismissed because the allegations do not rise to the level of illegality, Budd is not accused of making physical advances or pressuring them for sexual favors and he was not acting within the context of his obligations as a judge.

“Charles Budd has denied and will continue to deny making any demeaning comments that made the plaintiffs or anybody else feel uncomfortable,” his attorney, Melissa Hewey, said Wednesday.


In his ruling Walker said there was not enough evidence to support the argument that Budd used his authority as a judge to harass the women or offer them a quid pro quo.

“The allegations simply fail to suggest that Budd ever attempted to exert or even pretended to have any authority over Pike’s employment prospects or any other aspect of her life,” Walker wrote. “More specifically, Budd neither promised advancement nor threatened adverse consequences in connection with any of the alleged sexual overtures.”

Walker, however, said he had reached his decision “reluctantly” because existing law was not clear in this case.

Pike and Irving’s attorney said Wednesday that the ruling was disappointing and that their clients “feel humiliated and angry.” They plan to appeal immediately, arguing that Walker’s decision was too narrow.

“This is why women have such a hard time coming forward with sexual harassment claims,” Laura White said. “According to this decision, an employee of a ‘private company’ who appears before a judge has no constitutional basis for a claim against him, even if the sexual harassment continued in the courtroom.”

The complaint stems largely from a conference in Nashville last summer that Pike and Budd attended along with other members of the Bangor treatment court.


Pike said that Budd repeatedly made her feel “unsafe and frightened” and kept pursuing her throughout the conference. She said he followed her to her hotel room one night and would often pop up behind her shoulder whenever she tried to get away from him.

“Pike was placed in extreme, pervasive and severe fear that Judge Budd was going to sexually assault her,” the complaint said.

She reported the interactions to her human resources department.

The complaint also says Budd met Irving for the first time at the conference and almost immediately sexually propositioned her by suggesting in front of another Maine Judicial Branch employee that she sleep in his room.

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