MACHIAS — The Maine Sheriffs’ Association has launched an investigation into Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross, who admits he told longtime friend the Rev. Robert Carlson that he was under investigation for possible child abuse just hours before Carlson’s suicide.

Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith calls Ross’ actions “unethical conduct.”

At a meeting in Vassalboro on Thursday, the sheriffs attending agreed that the association would conduct an inquiry into Ross’ conduct, a step required by the group’s bylaws when a member raises a complaint about another member. Ross is the group’s president.

Ross tells the Bangor Daily News that he was obligated to tell Carlson because he may have had to restrict access to the county jail, where Carlson was chaplain.

The Attorney General’s Office said Ross did nothing illegal.

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