Lincoln Town Manager John Sutherland faces criminal charges in Aroostook County for allegedly breaking into the garage of his daughter’s then-boyfriend, according to officials and the alleged victim.
Sutherland, 50, of Lincoln, was issued summonses by state police on Feb. 14 for Class E criminal trespass and Class D criminal mischief for allegedly breaking into a garage in Castle Hill and damaging a door on Nov. 5, according to a prosecutor and a court clerk. Sutherland was Lubec’s town administrator at the time of the alleged crime.
Court documents don’t specify why the alleged trespass occurred, according to a clerk at the District Court in Presque Isle. But the man identified in the documents as the victim, Castle Hill resident Cody McGlinn, told the Bangor Daily News that Sutherland wanted photographic proof of damage after McGlinn crashed his truck into a ditch to avoid a moose, while Sutherland’s daughter was in the passenger seat.
“At the time, the cops were trying to get me for leaving the scene of an accident, but there wasn’t enough damage done to the vehicle for that,” McGlinn, 20, said. “It was just a fender-bender.”
Sutherland denied the accusations when reached Wednesday at Lincoln’s town office.
“It’s a false allegation and we plan on proving it,” Sutherland said.
McGlinn said he was dating Sutherland’s 18-year-old daughter when the crash occurred in Ashland at about 1 a.m. on Nov. 5. The alleged break-in happened hours later, when McGlinn wasn’t home. He never gave Sutherland permission to enter the garage, he said.
Lincoln Town Councilor Steve Clay criticized council Chairman George Edwards in an interview for not telling councilors of the charges, even though he knew about them months ago.
“He [Edwards] should have had conversations with other councilors,” Clay said, adding that he first heard of the incident last week from a Lincoln resident.
Edwards said he kept the incident from councilors until an executive session on Tuesday because he thought it was a personal matter. The council has another closed-door session scheduled Monday.
“I should have let them [councilors] know,” Edwards said. “I am going to chalk this up as a learning experience. It is my fault for not informing the council.”
Hired in December with a three-year contract at a salary of $60,000, Sutherland’s six-month probationary period ends next month, Edwards said.
Sutherland was arraigned in Presque Isle’s court on March 23 and is due to appear there on June 2, officials said.