A former Kennebec County Correctional Facility inmate is suing the jail, its health care providers, the sheriff, the jail staff, county commissioners and others, claiming severe mistreatment, including assault by a nurse who allegedly gave her four injections and a suppository against her will.

Brandee A. Lewis’ lawsuit was filed last week in federal court by attorney Jackie T. DiGiacomo.

Last month, DiGiacomo sued Kennbec County on behalf of three former Kennebec County jail officers who claimed workplace harassment. They said they were victimized unlawfully and terminated at the jail because of their gender, sexual orientation, religion and physical disability.

Lewis’ lawsuit says, “While being housed at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility as a detainee awaiting trial, (Lewis) was brutally sexually assaulted and physically assaulted by a nurse and multiple staff members at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility. The incident was captured on video by the jail’s security camera system.”

The lawsuit also says jail officers used Tasers and pepper spray on Lewis, and that the actions against Lewis “violated Lewis’ constitutional rights and resulted in substantial physical pain as well as long-term anxiety and other mental, emotional and psychological harms.”

No answer has been filed yet in response to the lawsuit, and County Administrator Robert Devlin referred all questions about the county’s position to attorney Peter Marchesi.


“This a classic case of overreaching by a lawyer,” Marchesi said in an email early Thursday. “The county and its employees have done nothing wrong.”

However, he also said, “The available information indicates that a single employee of the contract medical provider (not the county) may have engaged in actions that violate provisions of the criminal code and the inmate’s rights. That matter is presently being handled by the District Attorney’s office.”

The nurse, Kimberly Arlene Vigue, 37, of Jefferson, has been charged with two counts of simple assault that allegedly occurred Dec. 21, 2015, and involved giving injections and a suppository to Lewis against her will. Vigue is represented by attorney C.H. Spurling and is set for a dispositional a hearing in January at the Capital Judicial Center.

The civil lawsuit identifies numerous defendants: Kennebec County; the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office; the Corrections Division; the jail; Commissioners Patsy Crockett, Nancy Rines and George Jabar II; Devlin; Sheriff Ryan Reardon, Capt. Marsha Alexander, various corrections officers and others; Correctional Health Partners and Crisis and Counseling Centers; as well as Vigue.

It charges a number of counts:

• gross sexual assault with regard to the administration of a suppository and says several corrections officers are criminally liable for it;


• failure to report sexual abuse of person in custody;

• violation of civil rights under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, citing cruel and unusual punishment;

• violation of due process rights, the Maine Civil Rights Act;

• negligent supervision by the county administrator and commissioners and Correctional Health Partners, which employed Vigue; negligent supervision by Crisis & Counseling Centers; and vicarious liability by Correctional Health Partners and Crisis and Counseling.

Lewis, now 21, of Augusta and formerly of Hartland, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and a personality disorder, according to the lawsuit, causing her to “behave, in large part, in a child-like manner.”

It says Lewis refused her medication Dec. 21-22, 2015, and Vigue attempted to force it on her, assisted by mental health worker Gary Fearon and then Staff Sgt. Laura Belanger Briggs, as well as two corrections officers.


The lawsuit says Lewis “was strapped to a chair and unable to move her arms which were secured by restraints.” It says Vigue got four syringes from a medical supply room, three with saline and one with a sedative, and injected Lewis with them one at a time, asking each time if Lewis was going to take her medication and Lewis refusing.

It says Lewis was then taken to a shower room, her pants were pulled down, and Vigue administered suppository medication into her anus.

The incident was captured on a jail security camera, the lawsuit says.

It says Briggs investigated the incident, but documents reportedly were “missing” or “lost.” However, the lawsuit says that “when the Office of Professional Review became aware of the situation, a separate investigation ensued,” leading to the criminal charges against Vigue. The investigation was conducted by John Bourque, an investigator with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

The lawsuit also details two incidents it says occurred in October 2016.

One charges that Lewis was threatened with a stun gun when she initially refused to surrender a spork she had received with her dinner. Those classified as “special management” are not supposed to have sporks, the lawsuit says. It says that despite Lewis’s subsequent compliance, she was strip-searched, which humiliated her and added to her trauma.


It also says that Lewis at one point refused a corrections officer’s order to give him a piece of chalk she was using, instead putting it in the top of her suicide smock.

“In an effort to retrieve a piece of chalk from Lewis, Defendant (Darrell) Bryant violently slammed her against the wall, threw her to the ground and pinched her arm with such force as to cause a large, hand-sized bruise on her left arm,” the lawsuit says, adding that Lewis suffered a bruise on her face when Bryant’s boot hit her cheek.

It says that Lewis, through an attorney, filed four separate grievances at the jail charging excessive use of force and other claims.

Lewis is asking a judge to rule in her favor, give her damages, including punitive damages, and reimburse her costs and attorney fees.

Lewis also wants a jury trial on all her claims.

On Nov. 8, Magistrate Judge John Nivision granted a motion to allow the lawsuit to proceed without the usual filing costs, finding that Lewis’ income was low enough to qualify for that.


Documents filed at the Capital Judicial Center in connection with criminal charges against Lewis indicate she was charged with arson April 6, 2015, in connection with a fire that occurred in a dumpster at 8 Bangor Lane in Augusta. That charge was dismissed after Lewis pleaded guilty to charges of criminal threatening and violating conditions of release that took place two days later.

In the latter case, Lewis was accused of brandishing a knife at Augusta firefighters at a fire station on Bangor Street.

Police said Lewis had been removed once after firefighters reported “she was looking into our vehicles while swinging a chain padlock.” There were multiple reports of her doing the same thing across the street.

One mental health evaluator later concluded Lewis “was suffering from mental illness at the time of the alleged events and is not criminally responsible,” so Lewis was sent on June 18, 2015, to the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta for observation and treatment. However, she later entered the guilty pleas.

A judge’s order on July 23, 2015, permitted her to move to Augusta House, at Winthrop and Chapel streets, with the condition that she “take all medications how and when prescribed.”

Various medical providers, included mental health providers, and community hospital personnel referenced Lewis’ long history of mental health problems, and one noted that Lewis, who was born and raised in Skowhegan, had been “in and out of various facilities since age 6.”


Her history, which included several charges of arson; her behavior, including an attack on her grandmother with a knife — which netted Lewis nine months behind bars — and a history of not being medication compliant makes housing her difficult, court documents say.

One reference says her relatives indicated they no longer could take care of her, and she appears to have lived mostly in hospitals or in jail, with brief stays in supervised housing.

On Jan. 21, 2016, Lewis was sentenced to 364 days in jail, all suspended, and one year of probation for criminal threatening and to six months in jail for violating conditions of release.

She was charged with violating conditions of release several times, and each time was returned to jail.

On Oct. 11, 2016, DiGiacomo requested an emergency order in state court to have Lewis sent to the inpatient psychiatric unit at Acadia Hospital for the remainder of her sentence. DiGiacomo said Riverview was not an option for her because Vigue was working there.

Alternatively, DiGiacomo sought an order restraining the sheriff and jail personnel from using pepper spray or Tasers on Lewis or using excessive force on her. That motion was withdrawn after a judge ordered an immediate competency evaluation for Lewis, and two days later found her incompetent to stand trial and placed her in the custody of the commissioner of health and human services.


The next competency hearing for Lewis is scheduled for 9 a.m. Dec. 22 at the Capital Judicial Center.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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