PORTLAND — Democrat Jon Gale dropped out of the race for Cumberland County district attorney Monday after allegations of sexual misconduct during his employment at Unum almost two decades ago led the Maine Democratic Party to urge him to withdraw.
The election to replace retiring District Attorney Stephanie Anderson is down to one candidate, independent Jonathan Sahrbeck, who currently serves as an assistant district attorney.
Republican candidate Randall Bates of Yarmouth withdrew from the race in September.
In a statement Monday, Gale, 51, of 34 Tremont St., said he had extramarital affairs in the early 2000s, but denied other allegations.
“What is true is that I have made several decisions in my personal life that I regret,” he said. “However, those decisions did not involve my victimizing anyone, nor was I accused of victimizing anyone.”
Several weeks ago, The Forecaster was approached by someone seeking to remain anonymous who claimed Gale was dismissed from Unum for violating company policies and was known to sexually harass women while he worked there from 1999-2004.
The source did not claim to be a victim of harassment, but claimed to have knowledge of details regarding Gale’s conduct. The source was told that someone – though not necessarily anyone alleging sexual harassment – had to speak on the record about the claims if the newspaper were to pursue a story. That did not happen.
The allegations, however, were enough to for Democratic leadership to ask Gale to step aside.
Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett told the Portland Press Herald he became aware of the allegations over the weekend. After speaking with someone who said they worked with Gale at Unum, Bartlett said he spoke with a woman who said she had been a victim of Gale’s misconduct.
“Given the nature of the allegations, the details of them, I thought they were very credible,” Bartlett said. “I felt like I had no choice but to act.”
Bartlett also declined to provide the details he found credible.
“The notion that our own party leadership has rejected us and encouraged people to vote for our opponent is unimaginable – that the largest segment of our battle now comes from the Democratic leadership is crushing,” Gale said.
Gale has been working as a criminal defense attorney since leaving Unum.
He defeated attorney Seth Levy and Kennebec County Assistant District Attorney Frayla Tarpinian in the Democratic primary in June.
Incumbent District Attorney Stephanie Anderson, a Republican, took office in 1991 and was re-elected six times. She is not seeking re-election and has endorsed Sahrbeck.
Gale and Bates will still appear on the Nov. 6 ballot because the deadline has passed for candidates to have their names removed.
Jon Gale dropped out of the race for Cumberland County district attorney Monday after the Maine Democratic Party asked him to do so. (Shawn Patrick Ouellette / PPH)