Sunday, December 8, 2013
PORTLAND — A judge Tuesday reduced bail for a Portland man who is accused of exposing himself to a woman and who has told police of his intention to commit rape.
Steven Ricci, 47, was arrested last week on a charge of indecent conduct. He is accused of masturbating in front of a woman on a trail near Capisic Street on the morning of Aug. 16. He pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charge Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court, with bail set at $200,000 surety or $50,000 cash.
On Tuesday, Justice Roland Cole reduced bail to $50,000 surety or $25,000 cash – less than what the prosecution sought and more than what the defense requested.
If Ricci makes bail, he would be required to stay at his Brighton Avenue home except for supervised trips to get food, receive medical care or meet with his attorney. He would be prohibited from driving and must take all medications that are prescribed to him.
Deputy District Attorney Meg Elam had asked Cole to keep bail at $200,000 surety or $50,000 cash. Elam and the lawyer temporarily representing Ricci had agreed to those levels until Ricci's appointed lawyer, J.P. DeGrinney, could address bail Tuesday.
Authorities say they are worried that Ricci poses a threat to the public because of his criminal history and because he has described to police how he would commit sexual assault. DeGrinney, however, noted that Ricci has been convicted only of misdemeanors and that his statements about sexual assault were made years ago when he was trying to get help in controlling his impulses.
Ricci, who was born with cerebral palsy, is on disability and is trying to make an arrangement with a vocational rehabilitation program, according to his lawyer. Ricci has a house he bought with an inheritance from his parents.
Cole said he met privately with lawyers in the case and reviewed records about psychological treatment that Ricci has received. Cole impounded those records because of privacy concerns but said the material was very troubling. He said he understood that the defense's position is that Ricci had made those statements to get help.
"If one-tenth of them are true, he poses an extraordinary risk to females in the community," Cole said Tuesday.
"No," Ricci said in response. Ricci spoke out a few times during the proceeding but was more subdued that he had been at his arraignment Monday.
Elam noted that Ricci's criminal history stretches back to 1990 and that many of his offenses involved physical force or displaying his genitals. A jury convicted Ricci of attempted gross sexual assault in 1991, but the state Supreme Court overturned the verdict, she said.
Elam said that Ricci did not profess his innocence when he was arrested last week but did say he needed help.
DeGrinney had asked for bail of $30,000 surety. He said Ricci has a history of expressing bad thoughts but hasn't committed any of the acts that the prosecution claims he would. In this case, there's no accusation that Ricci tried to grab or threaten anyone, DeGrinney said.
DeGrinney said the victim got only a quick look at the man on the trail. She described that man as having dirty blond or light brown hair, in his 30s, and as 6 feet 2 inches tall. Ricci has dark hair, is 47 and is a few inches shorter than DeGrinney, who told the judge he is 6 feet 1 inch tall. The lawyer also suggested that the victim may have been inclined to pick Ricci out of a photo lineup because he had an odd expression.
In 2008, Ricci agreed to seek mental health treatment as part of a deal that led to the dismissal of a charge of violating conditions of release. DeGrinney said Ricci had some success with a treatment program, but Elam said Ricci has stopped taking medication that had been somewhat helpful in reducing his impulsive behavior.
Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org