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August 27, 2009

Police, Prosecutors Reviewing Flanagan Charges

Burlington Police this afternoon confirmed to Seven Days that they have largely completed their investigation of Democratic State Sen. Ed Flanagan, and are beginning to review the case with state prosecutors.

Burlington Police Chief Michael Shirling did not know how long the review could take, but did confirm that the case is now under review.

Police confirmed August 18 that Flanagan, a Chittenden County Senator, was under criminal investigation for allegedly masturbating in front of patrons in the Men’s Wellness Center at the Greater Burlington YMCA.

“Fair Game” first reported the incident last month, when YMCA member Tiki Archambeau filed a complaint about Flanagan with Y officials. “Fair Game” also talked to other patrons who had witnessed bizarre behavior on Flanagan’s part. The former state auditor has denied the charges, but apologized for anything he did while naked that may have been misconstrued by others.

A formal complaint about Flanagan’s behavior was filed August 14 with Burlington police.

Contacted by Seven Days, Archambeau said he had spoken to an investigator from the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigation on August 18. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the CUSI investigation.

Flanagan’s membership was suspended during the Y’s investigation. Flanagan said he plans to find another gym and never return to the Y. Numerous calls to the senator about the criminal probe were not returned by late this afternoon.

The YMCA has declined to say publicly whether it has completed its investigation — nor will it share any details when the inquiry is over. According to one former employee, some YMCA officials had been made aware of Flanagan's behavior.

Some observers believe that Flanagan may still be struggling from the traumatic brain injury he suffered in 2005 — an injury that some fear may be affecting his judgment.

Flanagan did not return phone calls to his home.

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