July 16, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


Yarmouth man pleads guilty to possession of child porn

A Yarmouth man who police discovered had kept sexually explicit photos of two minor girls he knew on his phone and computer pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to possession of child pornography.

Ronald Grant Thurston III, 24, was arrested by South Portland police in January on a charge of gross sexual assault of a minor. As police investigated, they searched his home Jan. 18 to obtain his cellphone, his computer and other electronic devices, according to court records.

Thurston had explicit photos of a 15-year-old girl, whom he had sex with on the day he met her, in multiple locations on multiple devices and others of a 13-year-old girl he had been “dating,” according to court records.

Thurston faced the child pornography charge before Judge George Singal in federal court. The gross sexual assault charge was brought against him in state court.

Thurston is scheduled for sentencing in the child pornography case on Oct. 22. He faces as much as 10 years in prison.


Retired DEP worker cleared of tampering with records

A former hazardous-materials cleanup specialist for the state has been cleared of a charge of tampering with public records.

Jon P. Andrews, 58, of Augusta completed the terms of a five-month deferred disposition from Kennebec County Superior Court, which included making a $3,500 donation to the Maine Coastal & Inland Surface Oil Cleanup.

Andrews, who retired March 6, 2012, from the state Department of Environmental Protection, destroyed his notes, but didn’t think it was wrong, his attorney, Walter McKee, said in February at Andrews’ previous court hearing.

At that time, Andrews entered an Alford plea of guilty, meaning he believed a jury could find him guilty but not that it would, according to McKee. The sentencing was deferred for five months and the charge was dismissed July 9.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin, said Andrews destroyed or tampered with 265 reports the day he retired as “a parting shot at the department he had had a difficult relationship with.”

Andrews worked for the state since 1989 and in October 2011, lost an appeal to have his state job reclassified to a higher level. He also sued his supervisors in 1995.

Special election will be held Aug. 27 to fill Goodall’s seat

Voters will soon decide who will fill the state Senate seat left open by the former Democratic leader.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced Monday that the special election in Senate District 19 will be held Aug. 27.

The election is needed because Democratic Sen. Seth Goodall of Richmond resigned last week to serve as New England regional administrator of the Small Business Administration.

District 19 covers Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden.

The Sagadahoc and Lincoln County Democratic, Green Independent and Republican committees will have until 5 p.m. July 30 to file a nomination for the ballot with the secretary of state.

Voters can now request absentee ballots from their municipal clerk.


Single-car accident on 1-295 closes northbound lanes

A single-car crash shut down northbound Interstate 295 near Exit 24 on Monday morning.

The accident was reported to Maine State Police at 9:45 a.m., a dispatcher said, and both northbound lanes were closed before one lane was reopened.

Witnesses told police that the 2010 Toyota appeared to drift into the breakdown lane and then into the grass, where it hit a rock and rolled over before hitting a section of ledge.

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