Officer Josh Morneau carried on a romance with the same sergeant who testified on his behalf after a fatal police shooting.
Mark W. Strong — co-defendant in the prostitution scandal that has thrust the Maine town into the national spotlight — released a statement on October 18 alleging he was being wrongly targeted by local police in retaliation for his work as a private dick. It read in part:
My investigation of the Kennebunk Police department also disclosed that a police officer shot a woman 4 times at point blank range and killed her. The Kennebunk police officer who killed her was never charged in the death.
Morneau and his sergeant, Juliet Gilman, were the two cops who responded to a call on March 27, 2011, in Nottingham Court, Maine, where Morneau shot and killed 39-year-old Katherine Paulson after she attacked him with a knife. At the time, both were placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. They were later reinstated.
(In August 2011, Morneau was again placed on administrative leave after an altercation with Gilman's ex-husband.)
Lt. Tony Bean Burpee this week said that Morneau's resignation was due to a "significant personal relationship" with another local cop. This goes against KPD policy. The other cop was Gilman.
Morneau was cleared in the shooting, deemed justified by the Maine Attorney General, after Gilman testified on Morneau's behalf.
The KPD debunked Strong's statement, saying in part:
Second, Mr. Strong's suggestion that his investigative efforts "disclosed" misconduct by Department personnel and that he was then targeted for retaliation is completely false. The fatal shooting he references was fully reported in the press at the time, and a subsequent in-depth investigation by the Maine Attorney General's office -- as is customary under Maine law -- exonerated the police officer completely. For Mr. Strong now to say that he "discovered" this incident is not only false, but an inappropriate exploitation of an incident that remains tragic for all involved. It has absolutely nothing to do with the dance studio investigation and illegal activities there.
Due to Morneau's resignation, he will face no disciplinary action for the relationship, and neither will Gilman. Gilman is still with the department, though no longer a sergeant.
This is second "significant relationship" incident between two members of the KPD that has resulted in a resignation in the past three years, after Officer Audrey Presseby (who is the lead investigator in the Zumba Whorehouse Scandal) was found to be having an affair with her lieutenant, Nick Higgins. Higgins told The Bangor Star at the time:
I have been going through a divorce and found myself engaging in dialog of a personal nature with a subordinate employee for emotional support so I decided to do what is right and step aside, resigning my position.”
Mark W. Strong is charged with 59 criminal counts in the Zumba Whorehouse Scandal, including criminal invasion and promotion of prostitution. His alleged partner, Alexis Wright, is charged with 106 counts ranging from prostitution to tax evasion. A third list of alleged johns caught up in the scandal was released last Friday.