also: Harrison grabs first U.S. Olympic judo gold
Carlson sexually abused several children, victims tell state police
By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff
Aug. 01, 2012
BANGOR, Maine — The Rev. Robert Carlson sexually abused several children
over the last four decades and groomed them to be his victims, according to
people interviewed by the Maine State Police during a now concluded
investigation into allegations leveled against the late community leader.
“There clearly were victims of sexual abuse that indicated that Bob
Carlson was their abuser,” Lt. Christopher Coleman, commander of the Maine State
Police’s Major Crimes Unit for the northern part of the state, said
Wednesday. “It appears that it occurred over many years and it caused a lot of
trauma to many people.”....
Carlson was a longtime religious and civic leader who committed suicide by
jumping from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge on Nov. 13, 2011, shortly after
learning detectives were looking into allegations of sex abuse involving
him and a boy....
The state police report includes interviews with at least 18 people,
including Carlson’s victims. Also interviewed were the former president of
Husson University, a Penobscot County sheriff’s deputy and detective, a Bangor
police officer and a therapist who treated some of Carlson’s victims. They
said they had either received information about or witnessed Carlson engage
in criminal or inappropriate sexual behavior over the last four decades....
Carlson helped found and was president of Penobscot Community Health Care,
leading the charge to provide those less fortunate with health care and
dental services. He also was a founder of Hope House, a Bangor shelter for
those with drug and alcohol addiction.
He “had full access” at the therapist’s treatment center, and after
Carlson took part in a staff meeting one day, “administration told Bob that he
was no longer welcome at the facility,” the report said. No dates are given
to indicate when this happened.
The therapist “advised that monetary control or influence was part of Bob’
s control over some of the victims” and “that there was a grooming
process [that] occurred with the victims.”
Carlson was a longtime church leader in Orrington who had served as
chaplain for the Bangor and Brewer police and fire departments, the Penobscot
County Jail and Husson College, now Husson University....
The first person to report concerns about Carlson’s behavior said he was
ignored by his superiors. Former Penobscot County Sheriff Timothy Richardson
has said he questioned Carlson’s actions in the 1970s after seeing Carlson
in the control room at the Penobscot County Jail in the middle of the
night with young boys, sometimes rubbing them all over, including their
Richardson, who was a young part-time deputy, said he reported his
concerns to two superiors, both of whom are now deceased. He said they were
concerned but didn’t take it anywhere.
“They didn’t want to take it anywhere,” the former sheriff told the
Bangor Daily News in November. “Back then they [religious leaders] were above
suspicion of child abuse.”
Harrison grabs first U.S. Olympic judo gold August 2nd, 2012
Kayla Harrison says she almost quit judo because of sexual abuse by a
coach. Instead, she’s now the first American to win Olympic gold in the
She started judo at roughly age 7. But to get to this point, she has said,
she needed to overcome sexual abuse – starting at age 13 – by the person
who was then coaching her.
“When I was 16, I told a close friend of mine, who immediately told my
mother, and she immediately went to the police and pressed charges. The FBI
got involved, and he’s actually serving 10 years … in prison,” Harrison told
CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield on July 9, weeks before the Olympics began.
“Every day was a lie. Inside, I was in constant turmoil, but on the
outside I was supposed to be this golden girl and so happy,” Harrison said.
Harrison said she almost dropped judo because of the abuse. She said that
it was not only “hard to deal with to be normal, but also to compete in the
But she decided to stick with judo, going on to win gold at the 2008
Junior World Championships and the 2010 World Championships.
“You get to the point where you decide that you don’t want to be a victim
anymore and that you’re not going to live your life like that,” she said.
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