One of the three men who are accused of illegally moving the ashes of two buried relatives said Thursday that he believed they had the right to move the remains.

Kevin Lewis said he, his brother and his uncle moved the ashes of his father, Richard W. Lewis, and brother, Richard “Trent” Lewis, from Steep Falls Cemetery in Standish to a family plot in Maple Hill Cemetery in Limington.

“We just thought we had a right. My father’s parents are there (in Limington) and it’s where everybody else will be buried,” he said of the family plot. Lewis said he didn’t think it was a big deal and that the graves were not marked where they were.

Lewis, 42 of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, his brother Travis Lewis, 37, of Hiram and their uncle Calvin Lewis, 71, of Limington have been issued a summons to appear in Bridgton District Court Nov. 18 on a charge of abuse of a corpse. The law does not differentiate between ashes and a body.

The three dug up the ashes and reburied them last fall, but it only came to light recently, police said.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office was told about the ashes being moved by Richard “Trent” Lewis’ former girlfriend, who is the mother of his children. She told deputies that she buried her ex-boyfriend, who died in 2007, and his father, who died in 2003. Because of that, she objected to their relatives moving the remains, deputies said.

She was told about the transfer of remains this month by Kevin Lewis, who thought she should know.

Kevin Lewis said that when his father died, there was a large funeral at a funeral home and that his ashes were kept at a family member’s house. Later, the family decided to have the ashes buried in the same plot that the woman had purchased for his brother for $200.

“We did dig them up and move them, but she didn’t pay for my father’s funeral,” he said. He said eight people attended his father’s interment.

“We appreciated what this woman did,” Kevin Lewis said. “Everything she did was really polite, very nice.”

He said the family and his brother’s ex-girlfriend have gotten along well.