AUGUSTA — The specter of a fourth trial on unlawful sexual contact and unlawful sexual touching charges no longer haunts Jonathan M. Carey.

After 41 months behind bars, followed by 18 months on bail conditions, Carey, 41, formerly of Augusta, saw the charges dismissed last week.

“He’s very relieved that this case is finally over,” said his attorney, Robert Sandy. “He has always maintained his innocence.”

Sandy spoke on behalf of his client, who declined to speak directly. “He did serve three and a half years in prison for this,” Sandy said. “His sense is relief that it’s over.”

Justice William Stokes ordered the dismissal last week, a move sought by Sandy on grounds that Carey could not exercise his constitutional right to confront and question the person identified as the victim. The girl died in a traffic accident in 2014.

Stokes’ written decision said the girl “tragically, is not available to testify again.”

Stokes described the girl as “the critical witness in the case against the defendant,” with the judge underling the first word, “the.”

Carey’s conviction had been tossed out by Justice Nancy Mills in August 2015 on grounds that Carey wasn’t represented well enough during the trial resulting in the convictions.

Then the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office appealed Mills’ decision setting aside the conviction. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Mills’ order in October 2016.

The original charges stemmed from an alleged incident in July 2008 in Augusta. Carey was accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, and testimony at trial indicated she was sleeping with two other girls in the same bed.

Two previous trials – in July 2010 and September 2011 – ended in mistrials. Carey had been sentenced by Mills in November 2012 to four years in prison, to be followed by four years of probation. He had been behind bars since the jury convicted him in March 2012.

“There’s no way to go forward without the victim’s testimony,” District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Thursday. “It’s heartbreaking that he gets away with this because she died. We’ve done everything we can.”

The 2012 convictions were vacated by Mills as a result of a post-conviction review process in which Sandy represented Carey and raised a number of issues about the case, including the actions by defense attorney Lisa Whittier, who represented Carey at all three trials.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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