May 26, 2019

Probe clears chief in harassment case> Lewiston police lieutenant exonerated

LEWISTON — An independent investigator concluded that a sexual harassment complaint against Lewiston Police Chief William Welch was not substantiated, City Administrator Robert Mulready announced Tuesday.

Mulready said the investigator also found no independent evidence to support allegations of discrimination against another member of the force, Lt. David Chamberlain.

The allegations against Welch and Chamberlain were brought two months ago by Kathryn Levesque, a civilian crime analyst who subsequently was placed on administrative leave.

Kay Hodge, a Boston attorney retained by the city to investigate the complaints, conducted an eight-week investigation that included interviews with 31 witnesses.

In accordance with Maine law governing confidentiality of municipal personnel records, Hodge’s 40-page report was not made public.

Levesque had alleged that Welch harassed her on several occasions by making lewd comments and suggestions, but Mulready said Hodge found no independent substantiation of the complaint.

“Other employees, both male and female, who allegedly witnessed various incidents of sexual harassment, did not corroborate the allegations during the interviews conducted by the investigator,” Mulready said in a statement.

He said there was no independent evidence to support Levesque’s allegations that Chamberlain, her direct supervisor at the department, had discriminated against her. Levesque said he yelled and verbally abused her.

The city administrator said he was satisfied that the allegations against Welch and Chamberlain were thoroughly investigated and that no disciplinary action was warranted.

Levesque notified the city and the Maine Human Rights Commission last month that she may sue Welch and Chamberlain. Her lawyer, Leonard Sharon, filed notices of claims but said there was no immediate plan to file a lawsuit.

A message left at Sharon’s law office in Auburn was not immediately returned.

After Mulready’s announcement, Welch said in a statement that he was pleased the investigation was over and the results came as no surprise.

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