Charlie Giguere sits Tuesday at his bar and restaurant, Silver Street Tavern at 2 Silver St. in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — The owner of a downtown restaurant took legal action this week against a woman who unleashed a firestorm on social media when she claimed she was drugged and sexually assaulted at the business.

The woman titled her online post “The Waterville Secret that Everyone Knows,” and her claims spread across Facebook, Reddit and other social platforms, highlighting how deeply serious allegations can be tossed about in the court of public opinion without first being vetted by an investigative authority.

The long post on Facebook, which included further claims that several people — women and men — have been drugged and victimized in “rape basements” at city restaurants, has drawn hundreds of responses over the past month.

Pamela J. Boivin, 54, of Oakland wrote in her post that some in law enforcement have turned their back on her and been dismissive when she tried to tell her story.

In light of the inflammatory post and the responses it generated, Waterville police Chief Bill Bonney and Maeghan Maloney, the district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, issued a joint statement saying they take all claims of sexual assault seriously, while making clear they would not publicly discuss a specific case.

Silver Street Tavern owner Charlie Giguere said this week the allegations described in the viral post are false and have hurt him and his staff members and family. He has retained a lawyer, and a sheriff’s deputy delivered a cease-and-desist letter Wednesday to Boivin, which she posted online.


“The statements that you have made about Mr. Giguere and his business are harassment … and also give rise to a cause of action for defamation,” reads the letter written by Giguere’s lawyer, James S. LaLiberty of Waterville.

The letter also informs Boivin, “If you do not cease from making defamatory statements about my client and his business, I will advise him to pursue all legal remedies available under Maine civil and criminal laws.”

Giguere told the Morning Sentinel he spoke with his staff members who served Boivin on April 9 — Easter Sunday — and determined she had a beer at the tavern just after 1 p.m., left and then returned at about 4:30 p.m., when a bartender said she was “not right.” A short time later, Boivin was found downstairs at the tavern and was told she was not allowed to be in that part of the building, Giguere said. She then left.

Boivin, however, says she woke up in a ditch after being drugged and assaulted at the tavern. She alleges that, instead of being believed by police, she was arrested for operating under the influence and other charges and taken to jail. She posted her initial online statement May 27, about seven weeks later. A GoFundMe campaign for Boivin has netted about $8,200.

Giguere said the situation has led to sleepless nights and created stressful, anxious days for him, his staff members and his family.

“I’ve got three daughters,” Giguere said, becoming emotional. “I take it seriously.”


Charlie Giguere stands outside his bar and restaurant, Silver Street Tavern at 2 Silver St. in downtown Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Giguere also said he is angry. He said people from as far as Portland have heard about the allegations.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster confirmed Tuesday that Boivin was arrested April 9 on Route 139 in Fairfield after the Fiat she was driving was seen swerving in the road. She was arrested at about 6:15 p.m. and charged with operating under the influence, failing to stop and refusing to sign a uniform summons and complaint, he said. Asked if Boivin had reported to deputies she had been sexually assaulted, Lancaster said she had not.

“If she had reported she was sexually assaulted,” he said, “we would have taken that extra seriously and we would have initiated an investigation right away.”

Boivin is scheduled to appear Aug. 9 at Somerset Unified Court in Skowhegan to answer the charges.

Boivin’s LinkedIn page includes that she has an extensive academic and legal background, has trained professionals in the field of mental health, is a university professor and works with people contending with substance abuse or diagnosed with mental health disorders.

She was unsuccessful in a 2012 bid for a seat in the state House of Representatives, representing District 83.



Boivin answered the door to her Oakland apartment Monday, saying she was in a therapy session with a client and could not talk. Asked if someone else, such as a lawyer, could speak for her, she said no and declined to comment further.

The Morning Sentinel’s policy is not to identify alleged victims of sexual assault. However, Boivin is named in this story because she on several occasions has openly discussed the allegations on social media and is facing the criminal charges filed in Somerset County.

Later Monday, Boivin sent a Facebook message saying she appreciated a reporter wanting her perspective on the “staggering number of victims that have come forward & disclosed being drugged & raped in downtown Waterville.”

“I hope that what would also be part of this narrative is the response from local government, law enforcement & the business community of Waterville,” she wrote. “Their response as to what changes are going to be made in order to keep community members safe … rather than just stating that it is not happening. Instead a response as to what they are going to do to stop this from continuing to happen to so many women? I think those are the voices that also need to be heard.”

Boivin’s posts have set off a slew of incendiary responses from people, some claiming drugs were placed in their drinks at city restaurants and that they, too, were taken to “rape rooms” and sexually assaulted. Others defended the restaurants and said circulating such rumors on social media was irresponsible.


Chief Bill Bonney of the Waterville Police Department says his department has uncovered no evidence of “rape rooms” in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

Bonney this week debunked those rumors.

“There is no evidence to support rape rooms in Waterville,” he told the Morning Sentinel.

Bonney said he could not comment on Boivin’s allegations or any specific case, but was adamant that when concerns are brought to his department, they are investigated. He and Maloney posted their statement to social media May 31, which included that they “recognize the serious nature of sex crimes committed in our areas of responsibility. Our offices work collaboratively to investigate, and when appropriate, prosecute these heinous crimes.”

“If for any reason, including lack of evidence, an investigation cannot lead to an arrest or a prosecution is not commenced, our offices still collaborate to provide the best care possible to the victim,” the statement read. “This includes collaboration with advocates both inside our offices and from private, nonprofit agencies.”


Responding to claims on social media that police and the district attorney’s office do not take reports of sexual assault seriously, Maloney said in a telephone interview she is concerned the comments will make people afraid or reluctant to report an assault.


Maeghan Maloney, the district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties, in 2019. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

“My No. 1 concern is that I want to make sure — it is so important — that victims know that when they come forward, they are listened to, they are heard,” she said. “Law enforcement and Kennebec and Somerset counties take these cases as their highest priority.”

Maloney said people can report sexual assault cases anonymously to her, including by telephone, and they can meet with her. She asked that her email address be published so people know how to report such cases:

“I am always willing to speak with someone who thinks he or she might have been a victim of sexual assault,” Maloney said.

Bonney, who became interim police chief in December and was recently named chief, said when the public has a concern, police and the district attorney are going to address it, which is what they did with allegations of people being repeatedly drugged and attacked.

“We have no evidence that this is going on in our community,” Bonney said, “and if anyone has evidence to support that, they should call the Waterville Police Department and we will investigate it.”

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