March 26, 2013

Former S. Portland legislator pleads not guilty to assault, theft

By David Hench
Staff Writer

SOUTH PORTLAND — A former state representative and training officer for the Cumberland County Jail is free on bail after being charged with assaulting a woman and taking $15 from her over the weekend.

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Former state representative Christopher Muse of South Portland is lead into court at the Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court in Portland to face charges of assault and theft Monday, March 25, 2013.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Christopher Muse, 56, a former Democratic representative from South Portland, appeared Monday in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Roland Cole lowered Muse's bail from the $10,000 set by a bail commissioner to personal recognizance after his attorney, Robert Ruffner, explained that Muse has deep ties to the community and no criminal record.

Muse is accused of knocking the 44-year-old woman to the ground and kicking her in the face, dislodging one of her teeth and damaging her partial denture, according to police. Muse says she fell and that he helped her back to his house and helped her clean up.

Muse and the woman, Tammie Terison, knew each other 20 years ago and had recently reconnected on Facebook, she told police.

Terison had taken a cab from her home in Cumberland to Muse's house on Mildred Street in South Portland on Friday night and Muse paid the $25 cab fare, she told police.

The two went out to a bar after Terison complained that Muse's house was messy. She was drinking, but Muse was not, according to court papers. She became upset because the food Muse had ordered took so long to be prepared, according to Muse's version of events. He said she was extremely intoxicated.

As they walked back to his house, Terison said she was going home to Cumberland, even though she had brought an overnight bag, he told police.

According to Terison, that's when Muse knocked her down, kicked her and took her cellphone. The pair did go back to Muse's house and he gave her an ice pack for her face. He went to sleep in the bedroom, and she was on the couch.

Later, she got up, found her phone and texted a friend to come and get her.

Terison reported the incident to South Portland police Sunday. Officers interviewed Muse, but determined the woman's injuries were not consistent with a fall.

He was arrested and brought to Cumberland County Jail, where he was placed in maximum security for his own safety, because he is a former corrections officer.

Muse worked at the jail from 1977 to 1998, serving at one point as a sergeant on the training team.

He represented South Portland in the Legislature for eight years. He also ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 1994.

He currently works at Dunkin' Donuts.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:


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