PARIS — The Oxford County Commissioners are investigating Sheriff Christopher Wainwright after he admitted to using his authority last year to try to help a woman who had received a traffic citation.

Oxford County Sheriff Christopher Wainwright. Sun Journal file

Wainwright allegedly requested Deputy Tyler Fournier show leniency to the woman who had received a ticket, according to a leaked audio recording of a telephone call obtained by the Bangor Daily News, which first reported the story Friday.

Fournier charged Audrey B. Coffin on Aug. 20, 2022, with consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle on a public way. Coffin contested the charge Sept. 9. The charge and a $180 fine were dismissed Wednesday.

The Bangor Daily News obtained an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Wainwright and Fournier in which Fournier spoke with a heated Wainwright, who chronicled and attempted to justify his request.

When the BDN notified Wainwright it had obtained a recording of the telephone conversation, the sheriff responded with a letter of apology to Fournier, another unnamed officer involved in reporting the incident, employees of the Sheriff’s Office, the County Commissioners and the people of Oxford County.

Wainwright described his actions, including those during a confrontation with Fournier and the second deputy over the matter shortly before his reelection in 2022, as shameful. The letter was not available to the public Sunday.


In his letter, Wainwright wrote: “Maine’s Law Enforcement Code of Ethics requires that, ‘… I enforce the law … without fear or favor…’ I violated the letter of that Code of Ethics, by asking my Deputy to show favor toward someone, and I should never have put my Deputy in that position.

“His discomfort with my request is understandable in hindsight. He and another deputy reported it through the chain of command, and rightly so. But, this angered me and made me feel betrayed by two deputies who I had ‘taken under my wing,’ and truly care for.”

Despite the deputies having taken appropriate action, Wainwright said he was angry at the time and regrets confronting them by overstating his authority as sheriff, “using inappropriate language and speaking in a tone unbefitting of the leader of a law enforcement agency.”

Wainwright also said he will be taking management training classes “to gain a better perspective on workplace dynamics.”

Neither Wainwright nor Deputy Chief James Urquhart, the public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office, was available Sunday for comment.

Members of the Oxford County Commissioners were also unavailable Sunday, but said Thursday they will not discuss the investigation publicly until the commission’s next meeting.

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