|I did not learn until January 1987 that the day, December 5, 1984, Richard Sargent was arrested for Mike’s murder that he was also arrested for growing illegal mushrooms. At the same time, I also learned that there was an FBI investigation being conducted concerning the State’s informant, Sharon Sargent,
and the Maine State Police DEA agent who arrested Richard for Mike's
murder and the illegal mushrooms. |
Richard wanted to give me copies of the FBI interviews, but they were in the possession of his attorney and his attorney refused to release the interviews to Richard. Richard’s sister, Linda Harriman, had received copies from her attorney. She gave copies to Richard, and he gave them to me. The FBI interviews gave me an inside look at how the arrest of Richard Sargent for Mike’s murder had transpired on December 5, 1984, two years previous.
|FBI INTERVIEWS MAINE STATE POLICE|
| January 16, 1987, the FBI's first
interview was with Kenneth MacMaster. He was the Senior
Special Agent in the Organized Crime Unit of the Maine State Police and
had been employed by the MSP since 1978. He had participated in numerous drug investigations that had been prosecuted both in State and Federal Court.
In late November or early December of 1984, MSP Michael Pratt was also assigned to the Organized Crime Unit. Pratt and MacMaster were contacted by Penobscot County Chief Deputy Sheriff Carl Andrews. Andrews indicated he had an informant who possessed information about drug trafficking in the Winterport area and identified the informant by the name of Sharon Sergeant. He further indicated that Sargent, a former county jail inmate, had spoken to MSP Detective Barry Shuman regarding the homicide of one Micheal Cochran, Andrews stated that Sharon had implicated Roger Johnson, William Myers and Richard Sargent in the homicide.
The two drug agents proceeded to Bangor that night to meet Sargent. She accompanied Pratt and MacMaster to the Winterport area. MacMaster drove, Sargent sat in the front seat pointing out the residence of people involved in drug Trafficking. Pratt sat in back taking notes as Sargent was debriefed. This resulted in the issuance of a search warrant. The plan was to coordinate the execution of the drug search warrant with the arrest of the three individuals (Richard Sargent, Roger Johnson and William Myers), involved in the homicide.
A week or so after the three men were arrested Sharon Sargent called the Organized Crime Unit to say she was frightened. She claimed the door to her apartment had been knocked in, she was assaulted and her residence had been spray-painted. Sergeant Pratt and Det. Barry Shuman had a big argument about whose responsibility it was to respond to Sargent's fears.
MacMaster advised that Trooper Dennis Appleton informed him that he had been informed by Marvin Hayes that Pratt had spent the night with Sargent after she called and expressed concerns about her safety. And then Mike Harrington contacted him and stated that he had heard there were problems developing regarding allegations about the Richard Sargent case. Harrington told MacMaster he was concerned that MacMaster was going to be accused of "turning" on a fellow officer.
As time passed Sargent continued to call with concerns about being protected and disputes continued between Pratt and Shuman about whose responsibility it was to deal with Sargent's concerns.
Sometime after this MacMaster was told that Sharon Sargent had gone to attorney Marshall Stern's office and recanted the information that was the basis for the search warrant.
Shortly after this, MacMaster was contacted by an individual who requested confidentially. This individual advised that Sargent claimed that she had sexual intercourse with Michael Pratt.
January 20, 1987, the FBI interviewed Maine State Police Detective Sergeant Ron Moody. Moody was advised that he was being questioned regarding improprieties by members of the Maine State Police anti-drug unit.
Moody thereafter voluntarily furnished the following information. He is a supervisor of the anti-smuggling unit of the Maine State Police Drug Enforcement agency [DEA] task force. He has been a member of the MSP for approximately 19 years.
He worked with Sergeant Michael Pratt, of the anti-drug unit in the past. In September 1985 he and Pratt attended a school in Albany N.Y. During that session, Pratt came to him in confidence. Moody agreed. Pratt stated that he had been sleeping with Sharon Sargent. Moody knew Sargent as a female who had provided the state police information that led to the arrest of Richard Sargent for the sale of drugs and an arrest for murder. This discussion, as Moody recalled occurred sometime after the arrest in Winterport of Richard Sargent and Sharon Sargent being threatened, Pratt stated that he had spent the night with Sharon Sargent and, Moody believes, Pratt stated he had sex with her on several occasions. Moody recalled knowing or being told by Pratt that Sharon Sargent subsequent to the threats, had gone to Richard Sargent's attorney and recanted her original story which led to the affidavit and arrest warrant on Richard Sargent. Pratt was now concerned that as a result she might also make the fact they had sex known.
January 23, 1987, The FBI interviewed Penobscot County Detective Sergeant Michael Harrington. Harrington stated he had information which related to the investigation pertaining to Mike Pratt and Sharon Sargent. Detective Harrington voluntarily furnished the following information:
Chief Deputy Carl Andrews asked Harrington to check on Sharon Sargent at her residence because reportedly she had been threatened. Harrington went to her residence and spoke with Sargent. She told Harrington that everything was fine and she was finally getting her life together. She said she was going out with someone who did the same work as he did. Harrington went back and told Andrews that Sharon was claiming that Pratt was "screwing' her." He told Andrews, "Don't send me to her house." A day or so later Andrews told Harrington that he had spoken with Sharon and she told him the same thing. A comment was made to Harrington by Detective Ken MacMasters. Harrington couldn’t remember the comment, but he responded "I don’t screw informants. My name isn't Michael Pratt." Harrington knew he had said something extraordinary because everyone turned white.
January 22, 1987, Sharon Sargent was interviewed by the FBI. Sharon was contacted first by phone and she asked if she was going to be arrested. The interviewing agent said "just talk." She then said she was willing to talk with the interviewing agent.
He traveled to her address and met with Special Agent Raymond H. Hanrahan who participated in the interview. She was advised that she was being interviewed relative to allegations made while working as a cooperating witness with Michael Pratt that she had sex with him and that it occurred several occasions.
She stated that she had first met Sergeant Michael Pratt on December 5, 1984 (The date that Pratt arrested Richard Sargent, Roger Johnson, and William Meyers for Mike’s murder) and that they had sex once at the Koala Inn. She remembered that in February 1985 there was a restraining order prohibiting all enforcement personnel from seeing her without her attorney. She recalled going to attorney Marshall Stern’s office in Feb. 1985 to tell him that she knew nothing and to deny everything she had said that led to the arrest of Richard Sargent, Roger Johnson and William Myers.
She said that while she was assisting the state police anti-drug unit that Pratt gave her $200 in cash and MSP Corporal Barry Shuman paid her rent out of his checking account. During Sharon's Feb. 1985 interview at attorney Marshall Stern's office she told Stern that Shuman called her every day and he was able to speed up her financial assistance.
The FBI interviewed Maine State Police Detective Denis Appleton concerning improprieties by members of the Maine State Police anti-drug unit.
The FBI interviewed State Police Homicide Det. Barry Shuman the day after Sharon Sargent's interview. Shuman said he first met Sharon Sargent in July, 1985 (1984), after he was contacted by Det. John Welch of the Bangor, Maine Police Department. Welch advised Shuman that Sargent possessed information relative to the Cochran murder which he was investigating.
Shuman interviewed Sharon and she provided information relative to the murder, in which she implicated Richard Sargent. Shuman said that Sharon advised that she was afraid of Richard Sargent (This is a lie. In Sharon‘s July 24, 1984 interview she told Shuman that as far as Percy she was “more scared of him than I am any of the rest of them.”
Shuman told the interviewer that Sharon was in jail for bad checks from August until November 1985 (1984) and during that time she became a source for Penobscot County Chief Deputy Carl Andrews. She got out of jail in November 1985 (1984) and he learned that during her stay in jail she had provided Chief Deputy Carl Andrews information. In December, 1985 (1984), Sharon testified before a state grand jury in Ellsworth, Maine, relative to information she had provided in the Cochran murder. On that day, based upon her information an arrest warrant was obtained relative to Richard Sargent for the Cochran murder. Richard was arrested at that time.
Approximately two weeks later, Shuman received a call from officers of the Bangor Police Department. They advised him that Sharon Sargent had found the door to her residence kicked in. Shuman responded to the call. He felt responsible for her. He knew the residence because he had been there on and off. He found the door kicked in.
Shuman went to his headquarters in Augusta, Maine and spoke with Commissioner Stephen, Captain LaMontagne and Colonel Alan Weeks about the incident. Shuman was able to speed up financial assistance as aid for dependent children. He then decided Sharon needed to be moved and in January, 1986 (1985) she moved to Grove Street. At that, he was advised to have no more contact with her. Sharon had gone to to Attorney Marshall Stern's office and recanted her story and information which led to the arrest and affidavit.
Shuman recalled that during Sharon's stay at Court Street that he passed by her resident three of four times a week, stopping by to make certain that everything was alright. In addition to driving by the residence Shuman frequently called her.
Shuman recalled that he traveled with Sharon to Winterport one day for her to point out Roger Johnson's residence. On the way down, she asked Shuman if Mike Pratt liked him. She said Mike Pratt had said some harsh things about him including that Pratt had made Sergeant over Shuman and that Shuman was angry about it. She then said, "You know, I had sex with Mike." Shuman told her that he did not want to hear anything. Upon his return to Orono he told Det. Ralph Pinkham, Shuman's supervisor. About two weeks later, Shuman went to Augusta headquarters for an annual case review. He met there with Det. Ralph Pinkham, Assistant AG Tom Goodwin, and Deputy AG Fern LaRochelle. At that time, Shuman said openly to them that Sharon Sargent had claimed to have sex with Mike Pratt. He wanted to bring this to their attention in the event the defense came up with these allegations.
Regardless of this problem Assistant AG Tom Goodwin said in March of 1985 that the state had no plans to abandon its case against Richard Sargent, William Meyers, and Roger Johnson.
|NEWS REPORTS FBI INVESTIGATING MAINE STATE POLICE||
January 23, 1987—the same day the FBI took a statement from MSP Det. Shuman the allegations against the Maine State Police drug agents hit the news.
FBI investigating improper conduct by Maine state troopers
January 23, 1987, the Bangor Daily News reported that an FBI spokesman confirmed Thursday afternoon that the agency was investigating charges of improper conduct leveled against several Maine State Police troopers assigned to undercover drug work. John J. Cloherty Jr., a special agent with the Boston office of the FBI, said, “I can confirm that the FBI is conducting an investigation into allegations of improprieties by troopers assigned to the Maine State Police anti-drug unit, in an effort to determine if there have been violations of federal law.”
Three troopers given administrative leave
February 9, 1987, the Bangor Daily News reported that “three Maine State Troopers assigned to undercover drug work have been placed on administrative leave, with pay, pending the outcome of a previously announced FBI investigation into allegations of improper conduct.”
The reporter repeated the allegations that “some of the troopers have had sexual relations with female informants and that they have coerced some witnesses to lie in court.”
Allegations of a Maine State Police Cover-up reported
February 26, 1987, Gary J. Remal of the Kennebec Journal reported that allegations of a State Police cover-up prompted Superior Court Judge Donald Alexander to order a new hearing into the validity of a search warrant used in a Waldo County drug probe. Lawyers for Richard Sargent say that Sgt. Michael Pratt lied in court about his relationship with police informant Sharon Sargent.
Defense attorney Marshal Stern told the news that he repeatedly reported to State Police charges of impropriety on the part of Pratt and the other detectives in various cases. He said his complaint to U.S. Attorney Richard Cohen finally initiated the current FBI investigation after state officials refused to act. He said he didn’t “want to hurt the officers” that he” just wanted fairness, and the way you ensure fairness is to dismiss this case, not continue with the cover-up.”
I was now learning that Shuman’s investigation of Mike’s murder was all tangled up in a Maine State Police cover-up. The MSP detective who arrested three men for Mike’s murder was involved in a sexual affair with his informant, Sharon Sargent.
Judge to reconsider search warrant
Another article on February 26, 1987 by Margaret Warner of the Bangor Daily News reported “The mushroom case shares common threads to a 1981 murder and a 1980 robbery. Richard Sargent was one of three men charged in the murder of Micheal Cochran, whose burned body was found at the scene of a cabin fire in Dedham." The search warrant, whose validity Justice Donald Alexander "agreed to reconsider Wednesday, was executed at the same time as one linking Sargent to the Cochran murder."
Sargent also was convicted last summer of robbing a convicted drug dealer six years ago. He is awaiting a judge's decision on his request for a new trial in that case, based on his claim that state police Detective Barry Shuman lied on the witness stand.
Mushroom drug trial delayed by alleged police sexual indiscretion
Feb. 28 -Mar. 1, 1987, Walter Griffin of the Bangor Daily News reported that the Pratt-Sargent affair was one of several alleged questionable activities by the drug task force members that prompted an internal and FBI investigation of the elite unit. And that it was not the first time Sharon Sargent's credibility as a witness has been attacked. She was also a key police informant in the aborted murder trial of Roger Johnson, William Myers and Richard Sargent.
Based on information provided by Sharon Sargent, authorities indicted the three in connection with the February 1981 murder of Micheal Cochran. According to Sargent's testimony, Cochran's killers set fire to the camp after knocking Cochran unconscious. His body was found in the ashes a week later. Sargent also implicated the three men with Cochran's escape.
Griffin wrote that although authorities contend the three men were involved in the murder, there is apparently not enough evidence to corroborate Sharon Sargent’s testimony to warrant prosecution.
May 7, 1987, I received a call from Marshall Stern’s (Richard Sargent's attorney) investigator, Bucky Buchanan, asking if I could give Sharon Sargent a ride to Augusta (76 miles south of Bangor) the next day for a hearing on the drug case. I agreed to drive her to Augusta. The first thing she said to me after she was in the car was that she "asked Marshal [Stern] if he was trying to get me killed when he said you would give me a ride to Augusta” I told her I had no hard feelings toward her. I really felt sympathy for her because of the way she had been used by the Maine State Police.
Police detective admits lying about relationship with woman
May 8, 1987, Gary J. Remal of the Kennebec Journal reported the Augusta hearing. Allegation that former detective Sgt. Michael Pratt had lied about his relationship with informant Sharon Worster (Sharon had taken back her maiden name), also known under married names as Sharon Sargent (Sharon was married to two Sargent brothers) and Sharon Pomeroy, led to his being fired April 10.
As a result of new information about Pratt and Worster’s relationship, Judge Donald Alexander agreed in February to re-open a hearing on the search warrant. Testimony will continue in the hearing next week before the judge makes a decision.
State Police officer, Lt. Ralph Pinkham, "who was investigating a murder charge against Richard Sargent at the time, testified he knew about the relationship between Pratt and Worster, but told no one on the police force. Pinkham said he didn’t think Pratt’s love life, even if it involved a police informant, was something he should report. ... instead he told Assistant AG Thomas Goodwin, who was directing the murder investigation, which was based on Worster’s statements to the police.”
I felt compassion for Sharon when she broke down on the stand and sobbed uncontrollably when she was forced to discuss her affair with Maine State Police Michael Pratt. Her life had mostly been on the wrong side of the law. But while the state police (Shuman and Pratt) fought over who was going to protect her, she’s felt quite important. She didn’t realize that she was being used by the Maine State Police.
May 9-10-1987 Credibility of fired detective questioned
AUGUSTA (AP) May 9-10-1987, it was reported that "A fired state police detective's admission that he had an affair with an informant may change the outcome of a pending drug case, a lawyer for the drug defendants said Friday. Despite earlier denials, former Detective Michael Pratt of Kents Hill testified at a Superior Court hearing Thursday that he did have a sexual encounter with informant Sharon Worster, said defense attorney Harold C. Hamilton.
"... Along with moving to have the evidence connected to Pratt suppressed, the defense has asked that the trial be dismissed on the grounds that 'the state police covered up the malfeasance of Michael Pratt for a long time, and that violated our clients' constitutional rights' of due process, Hamilton said.
Drug agent's testimony details treatment by superiors, fellow officers
On May 15, 1987, Gary J. Remal of the Kennebec Journal reported "A Maine State Police undercover drug agent testified Thursday that State Police officials took reprisals against him for reporting allegations that fired State Police Sgt. Michael Pratt had a sexual encounter with a female drug informant.
"Senior Agent Kenneth G. MacMaster said he still hasn't told State Police internal affairs investigators that a lieutenant filling in for his superiors suggested he should attempt to avoid cooperating with an FBI investigation focusing on Pratt and the Maine State Police. 'He was suggestive,' Master said of Lt. Ronald M. Veilleux's conversation with him. 'He tried to rationalize it by
saying you don’t have any proof, 'Haven’t you ever slept with a female informant? I said no, I hadn’t', MacMaster said. 'He said I was going to ruin Mike Pratt’s career.'
"MacMaster says he waited more than a year to report allegations against Pratt to any official of the State Police or the prosecutor in the case because he hoped Pratt would turn himself in. He finally turned Pratt in and since then he said he had been ostracized by other officers, that his boss attempted to transfer him to another part of the state, and that he nearly quit the State Police early this year over his treatment. 'People don't speak to me.' the drug detective told defense attorney Harold C. Hamilton. Asked whether his superior officers talk to him, he said, “Some do; some don’t.”
After being transferred from the State Police Organized Crime Drug Unit by Lt. Douglas Holmes to a smuggling investigation unit following his report about Pratt, MacMaster said he appealed his transfer and was successful in being reinstated. Asked by defense attorney J. Hilary Billings if he considered the transfer to be disciplinary, MacMaster said, 'I guess when you go from being five miles from the office to 100 miles from the office, how else could I interpret it.'
MacMaster's actions satisfied no one. While his fellow officers apparently felt he violated an unwritten code against testifying about wrongdoing by other policemen, the judge was incredulous that MacMaster let prosecutors go on with the drug case without telling them about this potential bombshell. 'I did (tell them) but not soon enough', he told the judge. 'The defense already knew about it, so why not tell them so you could protect your case?' Alexander asked.
"MacMaster was the fourth officer to take the stand in the hearing who said he had not reported allegations about Pratt's sexual relationship with the informant.
Judge throws out charges in 1984 drug case
May 16, 1987, Gary J. Remal of the Kennebec Journal reported that A Superior Court Judge on Friday “threw out drug charges pending against three Waldo County people since 1984 after listening to three days of testimony about State Police sexual misconduct, perjury, and police officers refusing to turn in other cops in.
Superior Court Judge Donald Alexander said The case had been so tainted by reckless statements made in obtaining 1984 search warrant and lies on the stand by a fired police detective he couldn't allow the case to go on. I think it illustrates the essential fallibility of the justice system which is designed to be based on truthfulness when the reliance on truthfulness breaks down," the judge said. "Our reliance on the thin thread of truth is demonstrated here.
"I'm going to grant the motion to dismiss because I find the case so grossly affected by perjury there's no way to clear it up to have a trial," Alexander said. He said he determined that fired State Police Detective Sgt. Michael Pratt continued to lie to the court about his sexual relationship with the female informant used in this case and a related murder investigation. That alone would be enough to warrant dismissal of the charges, the judge said, but the failure of the police to clean up their sown ranks and check their own information when asking for a search warrant also played a part in his decision.
Earlier in the hearing Friday, Alexander heard a second state policeman tell of intimidation and retaliation after he reported Pratt to the FBI
[Alexander] noted [Deputy U.S. Attorney John] Gleason's presence in the court after the break and told the federal prosecutor that over the past two days he’d heard testimony by policemen that indicated other policemen have not been forthcoming with the federal probe of the Maine State Police and pressure may have been exerted on others not to come forward.
"The drug case against Richard Sargent, his sister, Linda Harriman, and his mother, Frances Sargent grew out of a murder investigation in which Richard Sargent was charged with the murder of Micheal Cochran.
Judge throws out narcotics charges
May 20, 1987, an Augusta newspaper reported that Superior Court Judge Donald Alexander “threw out drug charges pending against three Waldo County people since 1984.
This article basically gives the same information as the above article and also states that the case "grew out of a murder investigation in which Richard Sargent was charged with the murder of Micheal Cochran.
Chief believes image of state police tarnished
May 27, 1987, another report by Gary J. Remal said that a “Maine State Police have quickly closed ranks following revelations of sexual improprieties and allegations of perjury against a fired state investigator, and the refusal of his fellow officers to turn him in.”
But the chief of the Maine State Police, Col. Andrew E. Demers Jr., said his department was facing a crisis of confidence after the airing of its dirty laundry in an Augusta courtroom a week and a half previous. "Things like this travel fast," Demers said. "Just looking in the paper our people are really concerned about our credibility. Our image has been tarnished.’”
The policemen who ultimately reported Pratt to state prosecutors and FBI investigators said superior officers attempted to dissuade them from going to the FBI and later were scorned by their colleagues for ratting on a fellow cop.
Demers says discussions within the department tell him that press accounts and rumors inside the department disturb ethical police officers. 'I hear things, our people are concerned. Our rank and file is concerned, the recently appointed Maine State Police chief said. ... "we subscribe to the same standards we hold other people to.' Demers said. "We have to be beyond reproach."
"But Demers insisted these are isolated incidents. 'You're looking at the worst' 99 percent of our people are outstanding. Integrity is the watch word. He said he took action against Pratt as soon as he took command, although he admitted that Pratt's personal relationship with former State Police Lt. Col. John W. Clark may have insulated him from disciplinary action longer than it should have.
Defense attorney Marshal Stern, after many attempts to get the Maine State Police to act, finally went to a U.S. Attorney, who then took action. Col. Demers told the news that he also took action against Pratt as soon as he took command. He admitted that the fired DEA Agent’s personal relationship with a former State Police Lieutenant may have insulated him from disciplinary action longer than it should have.
State Police Capt. Melvin A Graves Jr., director of the Investigative Coordination Unit and commander for the drug units involved in the controversy, refused to discuss whether the State Police have a problem enforcing department rules and laws among themselves. ‘I don't really want to comment on it,’ he said. ‘Anything that was of anyone’s concern has been looked into and has been resolved. I’m not going into anything within the State Police. Anything that has been raised in the paper has been resolved,’ he said.
Demers said Graves denied that any of his officers had pressured policemen under their command to avoid cooperating with the FBI, despite testimony during the hearing that some did.
Deputy U.S. Attorney John Gleason said he came to the hearing because he thought an FBI agent would be called as a witness but after Alexander pointed out to him in open court that policemen had testified that they had been pressured not to cooperate in a federal investigation of Maine State Police activities he ordered transcripts of their testimony for review. ‘I really just want to see what was said in court, I’d like to see it in the context of information we’ve got and see where we go from there,’ Gleason said. He said there are no federal charges pending against fired Pratt, whose alleged sexual relationship with police informant Sharon Sargent Worster began the FBI probe.
Bangor defense attorney Marshall A. Stern .... said he tried to negotiate an end to the case that would have prevented the State Police from having [to]air their problems in public. "We tried to work this out with a plea agreement," Sten said.... "I called (State Commissioner of Public Safety) John Atwood and said this is going to be a black eye on the whole State Police. He said, "this has got to come out somehow and this is the best way to do it."
Demers said he was committed to restoring the image of the Maine State Police. “No way is there going to be a cover up in the Maine State police as long as I’m here. The law doesn’t differentiate between the public and police. We’re still subject to the same criminal laws as anyone.”
Fired Maine State Police Michael Pratt reinstated by Maine Supreme Court
December 29, 1989, the AP news reported that Maine State Police Sergeant Michael Pratt was ordered reinstated by the Maine Supreme Court. One year and eight months after his dismissal, he was again a member of the Maine State Police.
The 5 to 2 ruling that allowed Michael C. Pratt to return to his job with full pay drew an angry response from Assistant Attorney General William R. Stokes. He said that “the justices had apparently sent out the message that police can lie and get away with it. They apparently chose to ignore that, or it went right over their heads.” If you are an officer of the state of Maine and take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, you are supposed to tell the truth, even if it’s embarrassing to you.’”