Members of the Maine Army National Guard stand in Bangor, Nov. 11, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Federal investigators expect to complete a review of the Maine National Guard’s response to reports of sexual assault and harassment in early fall, the guard said.

The review follows last fall’s Bangor Daily News investigation that exposed a predatory culture on the Army side of the organization, prompting female soldiers to call for an independent look at the guard during a series of legislative hearings this spring.

It is one of two outside investigations born from the intense public scrutiny and augments a new state advisory board established by Gov. Janet Mills tasked with making its own set of recommendations. The Office of the Maine Attorney General also plans to probe the state’s past handling of allegations and is the only investigative body that could bring new criminal charges against soldiers based on its findings.

In March, Maine’s top military official, Adjutant Gen. Douglas Farnham, bowed to pressure and invited the federal National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations to visit Maine to perform a review. The office was created in 2013 to conduct administrative investigations into reported sexual assaults on state guard bases, but it also does overall assessments of a state’s policies and practices.

Its staff spent the final week of June in Maine gathering information and state officials anticipate a completed report in about two months, said Lt. Col. Jeff Roosevelt, an agency spokesperson with the Maine Air National Guard.

“We look forward to the team’s report and any ideas and recommendations that may result from it,” he said.

The guard plans to release the report to the public. It will likely include a summary of the investigators’ findings in addition to a set of recommendations.

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Callie Ferguson

Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.