BATH — A Sagadahoc County sheriff’s deputy arrested last week is accused of choking his live-in girlfriend during an argument at his home in West Bath on June 23.

Matthew Shiers

Matthew Shiers, 35, was arrested by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office on Friday morning at the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office in Bath. Shiers was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault, which was elevated to a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine because the alleged assault involved strangulation.

Shiers also has been charged with the misdemeanor charges of domestic violence assault and cruelty to animals – both Class D crimes punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Capt. Donald Goulet of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the alleged assault was reported to Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office on June 26 after the alleged victim confided in a friend, who reported it to the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office.

During the altercation, Shiers allegedly “purposefully injured the dog in order to get the victim to react,” Goulet said. This led to the charge of animal cruelty. The animal is OK, Goulet said Monday.

Sagadahoc County Sheriff Joel Merry said he felt the department had credible information that something may have happened and asked the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to take over the investigation, “because you can’t investigate your own.”

Goulet said the case passed to Detective Sgt. Paul Thorpe with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

“He conducted a thorough investigation and it came to a culmination this past Thursday,” Goulet said Monday.

The victim told police she was injured, but didn’t seek medical help after the alleged assault.

Shiers was taken to Cumberland County Jail on Friday, where he posted $1,000 cash bail. He is scheduled to appear in West Bath District Court on Sept. 30 for arraignment, Goulet said.

Court documents show that as part of his bail conditions, Shiers is not to have contact with the alleged victim or the friend she told about the alleged assault. He is also prohibited from possessing or using alcohol, illegal drugs, firearms or dangerous weapons.

Shiers has been placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation, Merry said. He said Shiers has worked for the agency since 2006 and only faced discipline for failing to follow a department directive.

“He’s never been disciplined for anything like this,” Merry said.

Attempts to reach Shiers for comment were unsuccessful Monday.

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