February 22, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

SKOWHEGAN

Lawyer asks to have hearing for girl, 11, closed to public

The lawyer for an 11-year-old girl who is charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of an infant has filed a motion to have an upcoming competency hearing closed to the public and media.

Attorney John Martin said he wants to protect the Fairfield girl's privacy.

The girl was charged at age 10 with juvenile manslaughter in the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who was staying overnight in the girl's home in the care of the girl's mother.

She is believed to be the youngest person charged with homicide in Maine in at least 30 years, perhaps ever.

The Morning Sentinel reported that prosecutors oppose closing the hearing scheduled for next Thursday.

The prosecution's response said keeping the hearing open is needed to maintain "trust in the criminal justice system."

SABATTUS

Man charged with sex abuse of girl over four-year period

A Sabattus man has been charged with sexually abusing a girl over a four-year period starting when she was 9 years old.

Michael Gagnier remained in the Androscoggin County Jail on Thursday on $50,000 cash bail following his arrest earlier in the week on a charge of gross sexual assault.

Police told the Sun Journal that the girl told a youth worker at a Lewiston church about the alleged abuse, and the worker informed child protection authorities.

According to court documents, when confronted by a child protection caseworker and the police, Gagnier, 33, acknowledged the abuse.

The father of three blamed it on his addiction to prescription painkillers.

He allegedly told police the contact included intercourse and he would often pray with the girl in an effort to stop.

AUBURN

Hunter gets nine months, $14,000 fine for poaching

A Turner man has been sentenced to nine months in jail and fined $14,000 for what authorities call one of the largest deer poaching operations they have ever uncovered.

Everett T. Leonard was sentenced Thursday in Androscoggin County Superior Court.

He pleaded guilty in December to charges including driving deer and night hunting. He also pleaded guilty to a drug offense. He was charged following an investigation by the Maine Warden Service.

The Sun Journal reported that Leonard blamed his behavior on his addiction to painkillers, something he says he has overcome. While the judge commended him for his drug rehabilitation, he said Leonard left "a path of carnage in his wake" with his hunting violations.

Leonard's father, Everett H. Leonard, previously pleaded guilty to illegal-hunting charges.

LACONIA, N.H.

Kids' bus driver is sentenced for sex assaults, videotaping

A bus driver who transported special-needs children in New Hampshire and Maine has been sentenced to 160 years in prison for sexually assaulting and videotaping his young passengers.

John Wright, 46, of Milton received the maximum sentenced after pleading guilty to five counts of sexually exploiting children and one count of possessing child pornography.

Investigators said Wright, who was indicted in October 2011, drove special-needs children from Strafford and Rockingham counties in New Hampshire and from Kittery, Maine.

U.S. Attorney John Kacavas said some of the children were completely nonverbal and others had a variety of disabilities.

Investigators said they found thousands of images of child pornography on his computer.

Despite the sentence, Kacavas said it's beyond his capacity to achieve justice for the young victims.

BOSTON

NOAA proposes increasing catch of monkfish for some

Federal fishing regulators are announcing another measure to try to lessen the impact of New England's steep cuts in catch limits.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday that it's proposing increasing the monkfish catch for certain fishermen who work an area off northern New England.

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