A Franklin County corrections officer was fired after she was charged in connection with a Waterville shoplifting incident.

The corrections officer, Nicole Quick, was dismissed from her position at the Franklin County Detention Center earlier in the summer after county commissioners voted in a closed-door session to allow the jail administrator to fire her.

The story was first reported this week by the Sun Journal newspaper, which filed a Freedom of Access Act request and a complaint with the Office of the Maine Attorney General, saying the county vote on her dismissal was determined unlawfully in an executive session instead of publicly.

Quick signed an agreement with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, in which she did not admit guilt to shoplifting but acknowledged the evidence gathered by the academy, and consented to have her credentials as a corrections officer revoked. The board had issued Quick a certificate in June 2003.

Franklin County Commission Chairman Fred Hardy and Jail Administrator Doug Blauvelt did not return telephone calls requesting comment.

The case against Quick, who was represented by Attorney Walter Hanstein, was granted a deferred disposition until March 24, after which the case could be dismissed if Quick abides by the conditions of the court and does not commit any new criminal behavior.

According to an agreement signed by Quick and the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, the shoplifting incident occurred during a trip that Quick made to the Waterville Walmart with her mother.

Quick and her mother were detained at Walmart in connection with a suspected shoplifting incident. A store security officer claimed that Quick and her mother worked as a team to move price tags from expensive items and replace them with stickers from cheaper items, according to the agreement documents.

The documents state that at the self-checkout scanner, they bought some items but did not scan others. Her mother, not named in the documents, allegedly hid a shirt inside other shirts and did not pay for it.

Store security stopped the two and found $391.19 worth of merchandise, but the women had a receipt showing they had paid only $93.11, according to the documents, which say Quick stated she wanted to take full responsibility for the theft “as she did not want her mother to get into additional trouble.”

Police issued Quick a summons to appear in court to answer charges of theft.

In an internal investigation by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Lt. David St. Laurent met with Quick and said Quick first said she did not do anything illegal but took responsibility to protect her mother, who had been in trouble for shoplifting before.

Laurent showed Quick video of her and her mother together at Walmart.

“During the interview, Ms. Quick would deny that she knew what her mother was doing, then state that she ‘was guilty,'” the documents state.

After she was asked how she did not know that her mother was stealing the items when there was merchandise in the bags worth $300 more than was on the receipt, “Ms. Quick stated that ‘this interview is over’ and walked out,” the documents state.

In the consent agreement, Quick neither admitted nor denied the facts, but conceded that the board would have enough evidence to conclude after a hearing that she had violated the law. Quick may not reapply for certification for at least three years, the report states.

Quick previously had been the subject of a federal lawsuit about an incident at the jail that was settled before it went to trial. Quick and another corrections officer no longer with the department were being sued by two former inmates, who claimed the officers had put pepper spray or some other type of chemical into their food. In the settlement agreement, neither officer admitted any wrongdoing.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

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