October 21, 2021

Warden cleared in urination case> Incident during training exercise accidental, fish and wildlife chief rules

AUGUSTA — All the investigations are done, and a Maine warden supervisor who urinated on recruits during a training exercise will not be punished, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says.

“There’s just no indication that it was done on purpose,” said the department’s commissioner, Ray “Bucky” Owen.

But some legislators say that’s not good enough.

“They’ve dusted it off and hidden it,” said Rep. Mike McAlevey, R-Waterboro. “That’s their whole attitude, and they’ve been allowed to get away with it.”

The supervisor, who was playing the role of a drunken smelt fisherman during an exercise on Swan Island last June, insisted the incidents were accidental. The recruits never filed a formal complaint, and no one involved has been publicly identified.

Owen said investigations by the warden service and state police are closed. However, state police issued no written report, and the warden agency will not release details of its probe.

Owen said the state police, in a series of “verbal meetings” with Chief Warden Col. Parker Tripp and Deputy Chief Maj. Dan Tourtelotte, recommended changes in training and the creation of an internal affairs department.

The Attorney General’s Office concluded in January the incident did not warrant criminal charges.

McAlevey called the investigation a “whitewash.”

Sen. Marge Kilkelly, D-Wiscasset and co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s Fish and Wildlife Committee, said she was surprised at the lack of a written state police report.

Kilkelly said she wanted Owen to give her a chronology of the investigation and what steps are being taken to implement any recommendations.

“I appreciate the fact that in personnel decisions there’s information that’s confidential,” she said. “At the same time, this sort of thing is an indicator of some system issues that need to be dealt with.”

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