Former Pembroke Academy student sues paramedic over sexual abuse

  • Photos of Pembroke town hall. fire department. police department. Maddie Vanderpool

Monitor staff
Published: 11/21/2018 1:08:20 PM

A Pembroke woman is suing a full-time Epsom paramedic years after she says he sexually assaulted her in an EMT training facility in Londonderry.

Ann Lemoine, a former Pembroke Academy student, alleges she wasn’t George Calligandes’s only victim and that he is a “predator with an EMS badge,” according to a civil lawsuit recently filed in Merrimack County Superior Court in Concord

Calligandes had been forced to resign from the Londonderry Fire Department in early 2009 after the department’s chief learned he’d had inappropriate sexual contact with a high school intern, the lawsuit says. Despite the incident, Calligandes returned to work for Tri-Town EMS in Pembroke, where he advised another student intern, 16-year-old Lemoine, who dreamed of becoming a firefighter/paramedic and wanted on-the-job experience.

Lemoine, now 25, has filed suit against Calligandes, Tri-Town and Nutfield Emergency Educators, a limited liability company started by Calligandes in 2008. She alleges Tri-Town and Nutfield failed to have policies and procedures in place to protect young women like herself, and she accuses Tri-Town of “a pattern of coverup” that kept Calligandes in a position of authority despite repeated complaints.

“When I was 16 and 17, I was sexually assaulted and molested, but at that time I was embarrassed and unable to get my voice and strength to confront the situation,” Lemoine said in a statement to the Monitor. “Now, with the passage of time and over $20,000 in medical and counseling expenses, I am angry and ready for justice.”

Lemoine has filed civil claims of sexual assault, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraudulent concealment. Her mother, Glenda Lemoine, is also part of the lawsuit, seeking to recover the thousands of dollars she spent on support services for her daughter after the May 2010 assault.

Londonderry police arrested and charged Calligandes in 2013 with sexual assault against Lemoine. He ultimately pleaded no contest to a charge of simple assault for touching the girl’s chest with his hand at a Londonderry EMT training facility he had rented under Nutfield Emergency Educators. He received a six-month suspended sentence and two years probation.

At the time, the state’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services sought to suspend Calligandes’s EMS license for several years in connection with the misdemeanor conviction. However, the state backed off from a multi-year suspension after Epsom fire Chief R. Steward Yeaton went to bat for Calligandes, calling him a “great team player” and other coworkers submitted letters of support. His license was retroactively suspended in November 2015 for nine days.

A message left with Calligandes at the Epsom Fire Department was not returned Wednesday. Tri-Town Director Christopher Gamache could also not be reached for comment.

Lemoine maintains in her lawsuit that Calligandes’s criminal conviction for simple assault “dramatically understated” his actions. She said she put her trust in Calligandes and that he used that trust to take advantage of her.

“As a result of the disgusting and traumatizing conduct by someone she had looked up to as an EMT teacher, Ann has had extensive counseling to help her process and deal with the assault of May 2010 and the other assaults on her,” wrote Lamoine’s attorney, Charles Douglas, in the suit filed Nov. 13.

Former Pembroke firefighter Debra Black had learned about Calligandes’s “relationship” with an intern in Londonderry that had led to his termination and had expressed concern to Tri-Town leadership in 2010 about how Calligandes was acting with Lemoine, including that “He ‘had his hands on her’ too much ...” according to the lawsuit. Black said she was “abruptly fired” by Calligandes, who was her manager. She has since settled a wrongful termination case for a confidential amount.

Black was interviewed by Pembroke police in March 2013 when additional information had come to light as part of a criminal investigation against Calligandes who was arrested weeks later.

The Pembroke Police Department had previously interviewed Calligandes in April 1998 after learning of allegations that he had been “too ‘close’ to a minor female” in the Pembroke village of Suncook in the early 1990s. He said at the time that the girl and “he hugged and ‘she tried to kiss me,’ ” according to Lemoine’s lawsuit.

“The police closed the matter as inconclusive despite their concerns but never learned that there were sexual assaults on Jane Doe,” Douglas wrote.

Calligandes joined the Epsom Fire Department full-time in early 2014 as a firefighter and paramedic. However, Calligandes has been barred from firefighting because he failed to pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test, which state rules require he take before – not after – getting hired.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319 at adandrea@cmonitor.com.)


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