District Attorney Natasha Irving has joined a sexual harassment lawsuit filed last week against District Court Judge Charles F. Budd Jr. in federal court in Bangor.
Irving claims that Budd sexually propositioned her within minutes of being introduced to him at the July conference of National Association of Drug Court Professionals in Nashville, Tennessee.
Samantha Pike, who in her role as program director of Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Services at Wellspring, Inc., in Bangor filed the lawsuit last week accusing Budd of sexually harassing her at the conference and once they had returned from it.
Pike, 37, of Bangor was part of the Penobscot County Adult Drug Court Treatment program in Bangor that worked with Budd, the judge assigned to the specialty court.
An amended complaint adding Irving as a plaintiff was filed Monday in U.S. District Court.
Irving, 39, of Waldoboro is the head prosecutor for Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties.
“It took tremendous courage for Mrs. Pike and Ms. Irving to come forward with these allegations,” their attorney, Laura White of Kennebunk, said Monday. “We ask that their privacy be respected as much as possible right now.”
Budd, 53, of Bangor was placed on administrative leave in August by Chief Justice Valerie Stanfill, according to Amy Quinlan, the administrator for the court system. The reasons for the leave were not made public.
Budd was appointed in December 2015 to the District Court bench by former Gov. Paul LePage. To remain on the bench, Budd would need to be renominated by Gov. Janet Mills early next year but, so far, Budd has not sought renomination, according to the governor’s office.
“Judge Budd has not submitted an application to seek renomination to the bench and the governor believes it would be in the best interest of the judicial system that he does not reapply,” spokesperson Lindsay Crete said Monday.
Irving claims that she was having a conversation with Richard Gordon, who coordinates the drug court programs when Budd, who had not previously met Irving, approached the two.
“Judge Budd inquired where Ms. Irving was staying and invited her to sleep with him in his hotel room,” the complaint said. “Ms. Irving was humiliated and shocked to be sexually propositioned within minutes of meeting a judge, especially in front of Richard Gordon, a respected colleague.”
Gordon told Pike shortly after the conference ended on June 28 that he had received a complaint about Budd and would be filing an “official complaint” about his behavior with the chief judge of the District Court. Who made that complaint has not been made public.
Through his attorney, Walter McKee of Augusta, Budd denied the new allegations in the lawsuit.
“Judge Budd was astonished to see these new allegations,” McKee said. “He completely denies that he engaged in this conduct, with this new plaintiff or with anyone for that matter.”
Budd last week denied sexually harassing Pike through McKee.
District Court Judge Patrick Larson, who attended the Nashville conference, is overseeing the drug court program in Bangor.