Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has filed a civil suit under the Maine Civil Rights Act against Jesse James Taylor in Portland Superior Court.
The case stems from an incident on July 29 when employees at Sisters Gourmet Deli in Portland called police after Taylor entered the premises and hurled abusive language and threats at the female employees there.
The incident was caught on tape.
“It’s more than name calling. It was threats — threats to kill people. There was a knife involved,” Mills says.
She says Taylor’s actions were based on his bias against the women’s gender and perceived sexual orientation.
Taylor pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to five days in jail. Portland police say they believe mental illness played a role Taylor’s behavior.
Mills says there’s no insanity defense in such a civil case, and the outcome won’t result in jail time. Instead, she says the purpose of bringing the case is to make it clear that such behavior likely violates the Maine Civil Rights Act and cannot be tolerated.
“I hope he’s getting help for his mental health issues, but in the meantime, we have to protect the safety of the public and safety of people who are trying to conduct business in the city of Portland,” she says.
The state is requesting an injunction that bars Taylor from coming within 150 feet of the owner or employees of Sisters Gourmet Deli; from coming into the Deli or onto Monument Square, where the Deli is located; and from committing such alleged civil rights violations in the future.
Taylor has 20 days to respond to the suit, or he can wait for a court date to be assigned. It’s not clear whether he is working with an attorney.