The chief pilot for the Maine Warden Service is on administrative leave following his arrest on domestic violence charges.

Charles F. Later, 54, of Shirley, was arrested at his home June 1 on an initial charge of domestic violence assault, Piscataquis County District Attorney Chris Almy said this week. Almy said additional charges of obstructing the report of a crime and criminal mischief were added once the case had been reviewed.

“His wife called 911 and reported her husband, the defendant, was intoxicated and started smashing items in the house, throwing food,” Almy said. “Defendant ripped the phone from the wall and shoved her, that’s what she reported.”

Deputy James Cain of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department made the arrest, according to Almy. Later was released on bail.

All of the charges are class D misdemeanors punishable upon conviction by up to 364 days in jail. Later is scheduled to make his first appearance in court in Dover-Foxcroft June 25.

Warden Service public information officer Cpl. John MacDonald said Later was put on leave, with pay, until the matter is settled in court. He said the case remains under investigation and the Warden Service is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations.

MacDonald would not comment further on Later, who joined the Warden Service in 1999, or the charges against him.

Later is stationed at Central Division headquarters in Greenville, which covers all of central Maine. He has worked in search and rescue operations from the air for missing boaters, snowmobiliers and hikers in Kennebec and Somerset counties, including the safe return of an 85-year-old Harmony woman in May 2011.

Later, who previously lived in the town of China, was given a general meritorious service award in 2004 and another in 2002, when he rescued a Colby College student whose kayak had overturned on Great Pond. Later landed his Cessna 185 pontoon plane on the water and taxied over to the student and brought him on board, according to a published report.

Later took to the air on Christmas Day 2006 when a couple from Windsor became lost in the wilderness between Caratunk and West Forks in Somerset County. Later spotted the couple, whose car had become mired in mud two miles from U.S. Route 201, and radioed fellow wardens on the ground, who brought them to safety.

Before joining the Warden Service, Later was a pilot for Folsom’s Air Service in Greenville, according to a published report.

Later’s lawyer, David Szewczyk of Bangor, did not return calls for comment on the case Friday. Later could not be reached for comment.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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