June 17, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

PORTLAND

Peeper to serve two years for videotaping teen girls

A former Westbrook man who installed hidden video cameras in a home to record unsuspecting teenage girls while they were undressed was sentenced Monday to two years in jail followed by eight years of probation.

Michael Femling, 45, whose most recent address was in Billings, Mont., pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court to six counts of violation of privacy and four counts of visual sexual aggression against a child.

In a plea agreement, the four most serious counts against Femling -- visual sexual aggression against a child -- were reduced from felonies to misdemeanors and additional counts of invasion of privacy were dismissed.

Femling made the recordings in Westbrook from February 2009 to July 2011. The charges involve four teenage girls with whom he was acquainted.

"It's probably the worst decision I've made in my entire life," Femling said in court Monday. "I'm sorry."

The case came to the attention of police after one of the girls and an adult in the home found hidden cameras and notified police on July 4, 2011.

Femling was ordered to register for life as a sex offender and have no unsupervised contact with minors.

WINDHAM

Two-year-old hospitalized after falling from window

A 2-year-old Windham boy was sent to Maine Medical Center in Portland after falling from a second-story window Monday.

The boy was playing with several children in a bedroom on Adam Roberts Road about 3 p.m. when he fell through the screen, police said. The boy fell to a first-floor roof, then rolled off that roof and onto the ground, police said.

When his parents got to him, his head was on the grass and his body was on the walkway, he was conscious and crying and bleeding from his nose, police said. Rescue workers treated him at the scene, then took him to the hospital.

AUGUSTA

State lawmakers sustain vetoes by Gov. LePage

Lawmakers have sustained three vetoes by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

One of the measures would have barred the state from contracting for timber harvesting on land under its management if the contractor employs foreign workers for logging. LePage called the measure unconstitutional in his veto letter.

Another bill would have directed the state to consider establishing a new license for recreational therapists. LePage said "creating more regulation and licensing is not the answer" for Maine's problems.

Another bill would allow student loans to be forgiven for neurology-psychiatry practitioners. LePage said the bill was designed to help one person, which the Legislature shouldn't "undertake lightly."

 

Sens. Collins, King praised for background check votes

A Maine woman whose daughter was fatally shot in 2010 joined mayors and others in praising Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King for supporting universal background checks on gun purchases.

Augusta Mayor William Stokes said Collins' and King's colleagues "need to follow their leadership and make common-sense gun policies a national priority."

In April, Collins and King voted in favor of a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases at gun shows and on the Internet. It was ultimately defeated.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns held a rally in Augusta on Monday as part of its 25-state national bus tour.

Among the participants was Judi Richardson, whose 25-year-old daughter, Darien, was shot in 2010 in Portland. She died from complications, and the killing remains unsolved.

BAR HARBOR

Accident injures 3 climbers at Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park rangers say a broken rope is to blame for an accident that injured three climbers on a 25-foot-high rock face and led to a complicated rescue.

Ranger Will Overton said two men tumbled from the rock face at Otter Cliffs, and one or both landed on a third climber at the bottom Sunday morning.

Jon Tierney, owner of Acadia Mountain Guides, said a man and woman taken away by ambulance were clients from Massachusetts. They were released from the hospital Monday.

It took roughly four hours to get them hoisted to safety in litters.

Overton described it as a "time-consuming and difficult" rescue that involved park rangers, Mount Desert Island Fire and Rescue, the Coast Guard and the Bar Harbor Police Department.

AUBURN

Firefighters encounter snakes in Auburn attic

It may sound like a B-grade movie, but it was all too real for Maine firefighters who encountered "snakes in an attic."

Firefighters in Auburn learned upon responding to an attic fire Monday morning that a tenant was keeping 25 to 30 ball pythons in the attic.

Capt. Scott Hunter told WMTW-TV that firefighters rescued about half of the snakes after being told they were not poisonous.

Firefighters believe a heater used to keep the snakes warm caused the fire.

The snakes' owner told firefighters he kept the reptiles as pets.

ISLAND FALLS

Ten-mile stretch of highway to be closed for five months

A 10-mile section of Interstate 95 in northern Maine will be closed for five months for improvements.

The northbound lanes between Island Falls and Oakfield in Aroostook County closed to traffic Monday to allow crews to rebuild the lanes to minimize frost heaves. The lanes are scheduled to reopen in mid-November.

During the closure, traffic will be diverted to Route 2, which runs parallel to I-95 and won't add significant time for motorists driving north.

The Department of Transportation said that by closing the lanes altogether, the project will take less time and be less expensive.

Southbound lanes will remain open.

 

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