OXFORD COUNTY, Maine — The FBI has launched a criminal investigation into former Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant and his former Chief Deputy Hart Daley, according to a recording of court testimony obtained by CBS 13.
In the recorded testimony, current Oxford County Chief Deputy Chris Wainwright said that the FBI opened the investigation following public allegations of sexual harassment and a cover-up within the sheriff’s department. Gallant and Daley both deny these allegations.
Wainwright gave the explosive testimony during a court hearing last week, in a case involving another sheriff’s deputy and an internal investigation.
Outside the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office Wednesday, Sheriff James Theriault, who was appointed after Gallant’s resignation, and Wainwright said they couldn’t comment on the court hearing because the case is pending.
“This story could take hours to tell you,” Wainwright told a judge last week.
The story starts with Oxford County detective Brian Landis, who was arrested on a charge of domestic violence against his wife last June.
“Four days after Landis was arrested, Sheriff Gallant, according to the messages, was soliciting oral sex from Brian Landis and wanted his girlfriend to watch the said acts. And that was one of the reasons why the FBI was investigating it because he was out on bail from the sheriff’s facility. He was a prisoner, and the sheriff was trying to solicit sex,” Wainwright said, according to the recorded testimony.
Wainwright testified that he learned during the internal investigation and another being done by the FBI that Gallant also sent nude photos of himself to other employees.
“I was notified, as a captain, that some members of the agency were complaining about being sexually harassed and was a potential assault by the current sheriff Wayne Gallant,” Wainwright testified in
The former sheriff resigned in December in the face of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and the prospect of being removed from office.
In November, CBS 13 reported a photograph of Gallant showing his genitals while in uniform. An organizer for the union that represents employees in the sheriff’s office then told the Portland Press Herald that Gallant had propositioned a male deputy and his girlfriend, and threatened to fire the deputy after his advances were rebuffed. The union organizer did not name the deputy at the time.
Gallant previously told CBS 13 he never sent sexually explicit photos to his employees. He did not return a call from CBS 13 Wednesday.
Wainwright said in court that the FBI was already investigating Gallant when the allegations against him became public.
“It was decided to wait until the sheriff was removed, and the moment he was removed, we were going to seize the computers and hard drives, and comply with the federal subpoena and hand them over to the FBI,” he said.
Wainwright said Daley was aware of the subpoenas and the plan, but alleges Daley destroyed records before he left the sheriff’s office. “Prior to that, he was told that we needed to preserve everything. Received a phone that had been wiped clean. We questioned him about the laptop and he said he only deleted a couple photographs,” Wainwright said.
Wainwright also said the computer was analyzed by a specialist. “Within 10 minutes [the specialist] informed me that the computer had been altered and tampered with. The screws were missing. And that when they opened up the hard drive to remove it for the FBI to take it even still had they described it as like eBay part numbers. It was not the original hard drive,” he said.
At his home in Dixfield, Daley adamantly denied this claim to CBS 13 “Never took the hard drive out, I wouldn’t even know how to take the hard drive out of a computer at all. Nope that’s false. Absolutely false,” he said.
When asked about the possibility of being under investigation, Daley said, “No. Not that I’m aware of that’s for sure.”
Daley also denied he knew anything about Gallant’s alleged behavior involving employees. “That individual [Wainwright], I believe, has a vendetta towards me and towards the former sheriff, and is involved in some corrupt activity of his own,” he said.
When contacted Wednesday, Wainwright said he couldn’t comment. The FBI also declined to comment.
The case involving Landis and his wife is still pending.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-871-7741.
BDN writer Jake Bleiberg contributed to this report.
Follow the Bangor Daily News on Facebook for the latest Maine news.