Sheriff Glenn Ross Explains Why He Tipped Off Rev. Carlson

Updated 3 years ago

We’re learning more about the investigation into Reverend Robert Carlson. We now know the day before he died, Carlson was tipped off that State Police were investigating him.Police reports show that Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross was the one who told Carlson about the case and as of Thursday, he was under investigation by the Maine Sheriffs Association.Three days before Reverend Carlson jumped to his death from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, Sheriff Glenn Ross received an anonymous letter accusing Carlson of sexually abusing a child in the seventies.The allegations put his friend at the center of a State Police investigation, and landed Sheriff Ross on one end of a difficult conversation.”It was a very brief conversation with Bob. Maybe lasted a couple of minutes and I said that there was this letter and there was this concern,” said Ross.Just hours before Carlson died, the Sheriff tipped him off about the case, and his motives for doing so have come into question.According to a police report released by the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department, Ross told detectives that he didn’t want Carlson to be blindsided by the investigation, or upset that Ross had kept it from him.In a press conference Thursday, though, he gave a different reason.”As distasteful as it was to have this discussion with Bob, I had to restrict his access into the county jail.”Ross said that Carlson was an active member of the Penobscot County Jail’s Board of Visitors, a group with unlimited access to inmates and staff.He claimed that he only told Carlson about the case to let him know he couldn’t enter the jail.”I told him that he was not to go into the jail until I had a chance to review this with my staff,” said Ross.But the call was the wrong one, at least according to Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith.”It’s just inappropriate. I’m just not going to align myself with an organization that supports this type of behavior,” said Smith.Smith has called for Ross to resign from his role as president of the Maine Sheriffs Association, a group to which Smith belongs.”I don’t think this is something that we should condone or even allow to continue,” said Smith.He says Ross let down Carlson’s alleged victims by alerting him to the investigation.”Donnie is seeking publicity. The fact that Donnie some how thinks that I’m not protecting children, I have a career of protecting individuals, but I also have a responsibility of protecting my organization, the inmates in our jail,” said Ross.Smith has threatened to leave the group if Ross doesn’t, but the association will conduct a review of what happened before making a judgement.An inquiry board is expected to make a ruling in a week or two.In the meantime, Ross is standing by the judgement call he made back in November.


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