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Date: 04-06-2022

Case Style:

Norman Gaudette, et aux. v. Mainely Media, LLC, et al.

Case Number:

Judge: Not Available

Court: Superior Court, Penobscot County, Maine

Plaintiff's Attorney: Gene R. Libby and Tara Rich

Defendant's Attorney: James B. Haddow

Description: Bangor, Main personal injury lawyer represented Plaintiffs, who sued defendant on a defamation theory claiming that a news paper article published about Norman Gaudetter was false.

In 1990, Norman Gaudette was a detective with the Biddeford
Police Department. Allegations surfaced that Gaudette had sexually abused
several teenage boys. Along with an internal investigation by the Biddeford
Police Department, the allegations were referred to and investigated by the
Maine Attorney General’s Office. In 1991, a York County grand jury, after a
presentation by the Attorney General’s Office, voted not to indict Gaudette. He
continued to work for the Biddeford Police Department until he retired in

In February 2015, an individual alleging that he had been the
victim of sexual abuse committed by a different Biddeford police officer began
posting about the alleged abuse on social media. Meiklejohn and Lovell-Keely,
a reporter and an editor, respectively, for the Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier, a
newspaper owned by Mainely Media, began reporting on the new allegations.
Their work led them to interview and publish reports regarding statements
made by several of Gaudette’s alleged victims and Terry Davis, the Biddeford
police officer who originally brought the 1990 allegations against Gaudette to
the Police Department’s attention.

As a result of the 2015 allegations involving Gaudette and the
other Biddeford police officer, members of the public began holding meetings
with members of state and local government to discuss the alleged abuse and
possible reforms. The Biddeford City Council considered placing the police
chief and deputy chief on administrative leave, and some government officials
began to speak publicly about the allegations and to propose legislation in

One of Meiklejohn and Lovell-Kelly’s articles included Davis’s
account of the 1991 grand jury proceeding. Davis’s statements, as
represented in the article, contain the following allegations. A fifteen-year-old
boy spoke with Davis at the Biddeford police station and alleged that Gaudette
had sexually abused him. Investigations by the Biddeford police and Maine
Attorney General’s Office identified multiple other alleged victims who
claimed that Gaudette had abused them. None of the alleged victims were
called to testify before the grand jury, and during Davis’s testimony before the
grand jury, an Assistant Attorney General surprised Davis by asking him
probing questions about Davis’s father’s suicide after Davis’s father was
accused of sexually abusing a child, suggesting to the grand jury that Davis
was incapable of impartially investigating a child abuse case. Gaudette then
testified before the grand jury. The article reported that after the grand jury
voted not to indict Gaudette, the Assistant Attorney General went to the

Biddeford police station and asked Davis and another officer to meet him at a
restaurant in Biddeford, which they did. At the restaurant, the article
reported, the Assistant Attorney General “continuously apologized” and told
Davis that he “purposely threw the case under the bus” on orders from his

The Gaudettes filed a complaint against Mainely Media, LLC,
Meiklejohn, and Lovell-Keely on June 24, 2015, alleging that they intentionally
or recklessly disregarded the truth or falsity of the accounts included in their
articles. The complaint included counts of false light portrayal, defamation,
intrusion into seclusion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, and loss of consortium, and sought damages
for loss of employment, stress, depression, and punitive damages.

See: The Bangor Daily News

Outcome: Defendants' verdict.

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