PORTLAND — A Brunswick man who doctors say has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old will spend three years in prison for assaulting a preteen girl and her mother a year ago.

Darrell McCauley, 33, was sentenced Friday in Cumberland County Unified Court to nine years in prison with all but three years suspended, followed by four years of probation.

The victim, who is now 13, testified at McCauley’s sentencing about the day their paths crossed at a restaurant in Brunswick, when McCauley grabbed her and tried to kiss her forcefully. McCauley also kicked the girl’s mother in the face after she tried to pull him away.

The girl read from a piece of paper and spoke in a high, soft voice.

“I no longer trust anyone I didn’t already know,” the victim told the court. “Please protect me and anyone else he could hurt.”

This is not the first time McCauley has been charged and convicted of a crime.

In 1999, he assaulted a female relative, and that led him to be involuntarily admitted to the Augusta Mental Health Institute. In 2000, while on an outing, he assaulted an 11-year-old girl in the women’s bathroom of a ski resort. In 2001, he was convicted of assaulting a fellow patient at the institute. And in 2003, McCauley walked out of an Augusta group home and approached a 7-year-old girl at a nearby house, trying to kiss her and pull down her pants.

McCauley originally received a suspended sentence for that offense but it was revoked after he committed another crime and was ordered to serve four years in prison.

A state doctor testified at one of McCauley’s hearings more than a decade ago, saying, “It is more than likely that his behavior will result in grievous bodily injury or death,” according to previously published reports.

Since 2008, McCauley has been in the custody of Granite Bay Care, a private company that contracts with the state to care for adults with mental disabilities. He had been living at a group home in Brunswick since April 2012.

He assaulted the girl and her mother in Brunswick on Jan. 31, 2013.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan had asked District Court Judge E. Mary Kelly to sentence McCauley to the maximum 10 years in prison for two counts of felony assault.

“To date, nothing has been done short of incarceration to protect the public from Mr. McCauley,” Madigan said.

McCauley’s attorney, Neale Duffett, said his client has a developmental disability, suffers from traumatic brain trauma and has “severe cognitive limitations.” He is aware of his actions, Duffett said, but acts on impulses he cannot control because his brain functions like a child’s.

“We can certainly warehouse him in prison … or there is another way,” Duffett said, advocating for McCauley’s release back into the care of Granite Bay.

McCauley spoke only briefly during the sentencing hearing Friday.

“I’m very sorry,” he said in a hushed voice. “And I want to go back to Granite Bay Care.”

Kelly said she hoped McCauley would be placed in the Maine State Prison’s new intensive mental health program so that he can get the help he needs while incarcerated. That decision is up to the Department of Corrections.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

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Twitter: @PPHEricRussell