A former police chief accused of sexually assaulting two 5-year-old girls pleaded not guilty Monday in court in Bangor to one count of gross sexual assault and two counts of unlawful sexual contact.

Carl E. Smith, who served as police chief in Howland in the 1970s and 1980s, appeared in the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor after being indicted on the charges by a Penobscot County grand jury last month.

Smith, 72, of Eddington, has been held since he was arrested in Wells on a warrant on May 10 following his return to Maine after at first fleeing the state upon learning that he would be charged.

Smith has been unable to post the $100,000 cash bail amount set by Judge Gregory Campbell at the defendant’s initial court appearance by video on May 14 from the Penobscot County Jail.

Assistant District Attorney Marianne Lynch said Smith had been slated to appear in court Monday for a dispositional conference for her and Smith’s attorney, Stephen Smith. Since Carl Smith’s arraignment had not been scheduled, the judge postponed a renewed bail hearing to be held on Sept. 8, Lynch said.

The sexual assaults are alleged to have occurred on April 25 at a home in Eddington. The victims in the case are twins. They are not acquainted with Smith, but know him, authorities have said.

Smith fled Maine after learning he was going to be charged and made it to North Dakota before deciding to return. He had been in contact with a Maine State Police detective while he was out of state and told the detective that he fled because he thought “he’d never make it alive in jail” as a former police officer, according to a police report filed with the court.

State police alerted Wells police on May 9 that Smith was back in Maine and had rented a hotel room. The two agencies took turns watching the hotel overnight until Smith checked out in the morning, police said in May.

Smith was considered “armed and dangerous,” and police waited until he drove to a less-traveled road before stopping his car and arresting him. Smith had a loaded Colt .38 snub-nose pistol in his boot when he was stopped, police said.

Smith was a law enforcement officer for 18 years, serving the last 13 as police chief in Howland before leaving law enforcement in 1988. He also served in the military for 32 years, police said.

He is the second former high-ranking law enforcement officer to be arrested this year on sexual assault charges involving children.

Andrew Demers Jr., 73, of New Gloucester, a former chief of the Maine State Police, was arrested March 17 on a charge of unlawful sexual contact with a minor for incidents that occurred between Feb. 14 and March 14. A Cumberland County grand jury later indicted him on an elevated charge of gross sexual assault, a Class A felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Demers has admitted having sexual contact with a 4-year-old relative, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

Demers has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains free on $5,000 cash bail.