Cops & Courts – Press Herald Thu, 23 Nov 2017 09:00:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nurse from South Berwick charged with illegally obtaining oxycodone Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:02:17 +0000 CONCORD, N.H. — A nurse at a long-term care facility in New Hampshire has been indicted on charges that she unlawfully obtained three residents’ oxycodone.

The indictment alleges that to get the drugs, Jennifer Blaisdell, 46, of South Berwick, Maine, fraudulently documented that doses had been given to the residents by other nurses at the facility in Dover.

Blaisdell was indicted on 26 counts of obtaining a controlled drug by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or subterfuge in January.

A Strafford County grand jury indicted her in July on two counts of obtaining a controlled drug by forgery of a written order and three counts of obtaining a controlled drug by fraud.

Blaisdell is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 7. It wasn’t immediately known if she had a lawyer.

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Nov 2017 19:03:47 +0000
Oxford County sheriff solicited sex with employees, sent explicit photos, union official says Wed, 22 Nov 2017 21:09:38 +0000 Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant made unwanted solicitations for sex to at least two of his employees, said an official for the union that represents 23 sworn officers.

Ray Cote, business agent for Teamsters Local 340, said he received the reports directly from the employees, whom he declined to name. In one instance, Gallant sent multiple sexually explicit photographs of himself to a male deputy’s girlfriend and requested that Gallant, the deputy and the woman have sex, Cote said. When the employee rebuffed the advances, Gallant threatened his job, Cote said.

In another instance, Gallant typed a message on a cellphone indicating he wanted to perform oral sex on a male employee, and then showed the person what he typed, Cote said.

Copies of four of the images sent to the deputy’s girlfriend, which were obtained by the Portland Press Herald, show Gallant displaying his genitalia. His face is visible in three of the images, including one in which Gallant is in uniform.

Gallant admitted Tuesday to a TV news station that he had sent a sexually explicit photograph several years ago to a woman he did not identify, and announced he was resigning as president of the Maine Sheriff’s Association.

He said Tuesday night during a county budget meeting that he did nothing illegal. “It was an adult thing that happened two years ago,” he told the Bangor Daily News.

Gallant did not respond to messages left Tuesday night on his office telephone and cellphone, and did not respond to repeated requests for comment Wednesday.

The union’s accounts about Gallant come on the heels of a national outpouring of allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men at the highest levels of the media, business, entertainment and political worlds.

Cote said Oxford County, through its attorney, has been investigating the claims for several weeks, after a sheriff’s employee complained to the county. He said the county was preparing to interview members of the sheriff’s office about what they knew or experienced, but county officials told Cote he could not be present for the interviews, even though he represents the union members in employment matters.

“I insisted if they were going to do any investigating, as to bargaining unit members, I wanted to be present, and they denied that request,” Cote said.

The county attorney, Bryan Dench, would not comment on whether he was conducting an investigation into Gallant’s behavior, whether commissioners had sought advice on possibly removing him, or whether Cote’s allegations are true.

“The law with regard to county government puts the sheriff as an elected constitutional officer in the position of being in charge of the sheriff’s department without it being direct control or oversight by the county commissioners except in matters of finance,” Dench said. “The county commissioners really don’t have a whole lot of power or authority over the conduct of a sheriff, so their position is very limited with regard to something like this, but they do have the authority … to make a referral to the governor. Ultimately, the governor’s the one, if anyone does, to have the authority to take any action.”

Dench said it would be the commissioners’ call if Gallant’s behavior warrants a complaint to the governor, but he would not say whether the commissioners have asked for his advice on that.


State law makes it a Class E misdemeanor to knowingly expose one’s genitals under circumstances that are likely to cause affront or alarm, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to the Maine Human Rights Commission, which enforces the state’s anti-discrimination laws, any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when the sexual conduct is a condition of employment, if rejecting the advances is used to make employment decisions about the person being harassed, or if the conduct creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive working environment.

Cote said he chose to speak publicly about the situation because he felt Oxford County officials were not doing enough to protect the members of the sheriff’s office.

“I’m certainly not going to protect a sexual predator who is preying on my bargaining unit members,” Cote said Wednesday. “I want this completely exposed.”

Cote said Gallant’s misconduct should disqualify him from his job and that he should be removed from office.

Gallant confirmed Tuesday night to WGME-TV, after being told about one of the explicit photos, that it was him in the photograph and that it was taken in his office. Gallant, who was first elected in 2006 and is in his third four-year term as county sheriff, has served as president of the sheriffs’ association since January.

“I bring discredit to myself, to my uniform, my badge and the Maine Sheriff’s Association,” Gallant said in a written statement. “The appropriate thing for me to do is not remain in a leadership position with the association and to step down.”

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, who was appointed acting president of the sheriff’s association after Gallant’s resignation, said accusations by employees against Gallant should be fully investigated. Joyce said he had not heard any information that the images that Gallant sent involved employees.

If the allegations are true, Joyce said it would be difficult for Gallant to continue in office. He said that whether Gallant remains should be up to the people of Oxford County.

“We serve our communities, we serve our constituents, we serve the taxpayers, and really that’s a question of what do they want,” Joyce said.

The Attorney General’s Office, which investigates allegations of misconduct against police, did not respond to a message Wednesday regarding Gallant.

The Maine Constitution gives the governor the power to remove a sheriff who “is not faithfully or efficiently performing any duty imposed upon the sheriff by law.” The process, last attempted in 1951, requires a complaint, due notice to the sheriff and a hearing.


Julie Rabinowitz, a spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage, declined to comment on whether the governor’s office was involved in any discussion about removing Gallant, saying “it’s (a Human Resources) situation.”

Peter Steele, LePage’s director of communications, also refused to comment.

“Our comment is we are not commenting on this issue,” Steele said.

Steve McCausland, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, said he had no information about Gallant, his conduct or whether the department is investigating him.

County Administrator Scott Cole said that because Maine sheriffs are elected, county government has no role in his employment.

“Only the governor can remove a sheriff from office,” Cole said. “That is the bottom line.”

Oxford County commissioners David Duguay of Byron and Steve Merrill of Norway both said via email they would have no comment on the matter.

Cole said county commissioners held an all-day meeting Tuesday that finished at 5 p.m., then reconvened at 6 p.m. for a budget meeting that Gallant took part in.

“At the end of the (5 p.m.) meeting, the sheriff came in and spoke with the commissioners and myself privately and he basically told us what he told Channel 13,” Cole said. “He owned it, and that was that, there wasn’t much conversation.”


Cole said Gallant told commissioners that he had made an error in judgment. “He had sent a picture to somebody. ‘Not a good move,’ ” is what he told commissioners, Cole said.

Asked if Gallant was on duty when the photo was taken, Cole said he could not respond to specific questions. “Recent revelations in the news are what county officials know,” he said.

Cole has not yet responded to a request for copies of any disciplinary records involving Gallant.

Gallant, who is divorced, was an Army sergeant who served in the Vietnam War. He worked with the Rumford Police Department from 1980 to 2005, eventually serving as police chief. He then worked as police chief in Wilton in 2005 before being elected sheriff in 2006. Rumford Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said she had one disciplinary record from Gallant’s time in Rumford stemming from a complaint by then-Police Chief Timothy Bourassa in December 1996. Gallant, a lieutenant at the time, had made two statements to a reporter “alleging misconduct on the part of Chief Bourassa.”

The Rumford Board of Selectmen found that Gallant’s statements to the reporter were motivated by a longstanding feud with the police chief and a desire to take the chief’s job. The disciplinary action resulted in a week’s suspension without pay.

Reporter Kathryn Skelton of the Sun Journal in Lewiston and Advertiser Democrat Reporter Erin Place contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

]]> County Sheriff Wayne Gallant did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment about allegations of sexual misconduct, but Tuesday night he reportedly said he did nothing illegal.Wed, 22 Nov 2017 23:26:03 +0000
Father, son suspected in Auburn home invasion arrested in Illinois, Florida Wed, 22 Nov 2017 19:16:12 +0000 AUBURN — A father and son suspected in the armed robbery of an Auburn woman in her home last month have been taken into custody by police in two different states.

John Michaud, 49, of Lewiston was arrested Tuesday in Illinois and his son, John Michaud Jr., 19, also of Lewiston, was arrested earlier this month in Florida, Auburn police say.

The men entered the home of a woman on Park Avenue, tied her up at gunpoint and stole her SUV to escape, according to police.

The victim’s Ford Explorer was recovered Oct. 15 on Torrey Road in New Gloucester, where it had been set ablaze.

Detectives learned that the suspects fled the state together shortly after the incidents. They developed enough evidence and probable cause to charge both with felonies – robbery, burglary, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, theft and theft-unauthorized use of property – as well as obstructing the report of a crime, a misdemeanor.

The father was arrested Tuesday in Eureka, Illinois, by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, which charged him with being a fugitive from justice. He is being held in the Woodford County Jail in Eureka awaiting extradition to Maine.

His son was arrested Nov. 5 by the Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Department in Jacksonville, Florida, and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, possessing a firearm with an altered or removed serial number and loitering. He is being held in the Jacksonville County Jail awaiting trial on the Florida charges and eventual extradition to Maine to face the Auburn charges.

“This is a prime of example of how collaboration among local and federal partners shows that these offenders will be pursued and brought to justice,” Auburn Deputy Chief Jason Moen said.

“I expect that more arrests will be made in this case as well as additional charges brought against both Michauds once they are returned to Maine,” he added.

]]> 0, 22 Nov 2017 20:02:13 +0000
Suspect stole kayak, lottery tickets, other gifts donated for Waterville festival, police say Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:03:52 +0000 WATERVILLE — A suspect has been charged with trying to steal hundreds of dollars’ worth of donated Christmas presents from a local holiday festival, but many of the items, including a kayak, have been found and the event will go on as planned.

Bobby Campbell

Bobby Campbell, 51, a transient, was arrested on felony charges of burglary and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer. Waterville police Chief Joe Massey said police have dealt with him a number of times.

Massey said Campbell is being held at the Kennebec County Jail in lieu of $500 bail. He will appear in court on Jan. 29.

Massey said police were notified around 8 a.m. Tuesday about the burglary and believe it occurred sometime Sunday night.

Annette Marin, organizer of the Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees, said she received a call Tuesday morning from police informing her that a number of items were found by workers in back of the Hathaway building, where the event is held.

Marin said she went to the Hathaway building and immediately saw the kayak was missing from one of the vendor stations. She then called the other vendors to see what else had been taken.

The Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees, which opened Friday and is now in its third year, is an event where festivalgoers buy chances to win trees and gifts provided by vendors. The proceeds go to Hospice Volunteers of Waterville Area, Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels and the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers.

Most of the missing items were found behind the Hathaway building. Some were still missing, including $1,000 worth of lottery tickets and a DVD player. The thief also apparently helped himself to a bottle of wine while stealing the items.

Waterville police Sgt. Alden Weigelt looks over some of the items recovered from outside the Hathaway Creative Center on Wednesday that were taken from various vendors at the Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees some time Sunday night, including a kayak, tools, fishing equipment and a chainsaw. Bobby Campbell, a transient, has been charged with burglary and theft. Staff photo by David Leaming

Surveillance footage showed a man carrying the kayak out of the building, as well as moving inside the building with a backpack and what appeared to be the DVD player. She wasn’t sure if the thief hid the kayak and other items in the hope of coming back later to retrieve them.

“We won’t let one bad apple spoil our Christmas fun,” Marin said.

Massey said, “We’re very pleased we were able to catch him,” adding that it’s always unfortunate to see such crimes during the holidays, especially when many of the items were for charity.

Police do not have a complete list of the stolen items, Massey said, and they are still working to recover some of them.

Campbell has been arrested on several charges, such as obstructing government administration, and was summonsed earlier this year on charges including public drinking and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer.

Marin said the doors to the building were locked, and the thief must have found a way to get them open. Going forward, she said, festival organizers will take extra precautions to ensure the doors are secured. However, Massey said the doors were not locked at the time, and there was no forced entry.

For now, Marin said, the festival will take care of the cost of the missing items for the vendors, but she said people have already started coming forward offering to help out.

The event will continue as scheduled and will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

]]> 0 browse among the many Christmas trees on display Friday at the Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees at the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville.Wed, 22 Nov 2017 20:47:35 +0000
Oxford County sheriff admits to sending woman sexually explicit photo, steps down as association chief Wed, 22 Nov 2017 01:13:07 +0000 Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant is being replaced as president of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association after a report that he sent a woman a sexually explicit photograph of himself in uniform inside his own office.

“The Maine Sheriffs do not condone the inappropriate actions of the Oxford County sheriff,” the association said in a statement issued Tuesday night. “Vice President Sheriff Kevin Joyce (of Cumberland County) will be acting president of the association.”

The association’s action came hours after Gallant admitted to a TV news station that he sent the sexually explicit photograph to a woman he did not identify.

WGME-TV reported Tuesday night that it confronted Gallant about a photo it “uncovered” and that he confirmed he is the person in the photograph and that it was taken in his office. Gallant, who was first elected in 2006 and is in his third four-year term as Oxford County sheriff, has served as president of the sheriffs’ association since January.

“I bring discredit to myself, to my uniform, my badge and the Maine Sheriff’s Association,” Gallant said in a written statement to the station. “The appropriate thing for me to do is not remain in a leadership position with the association and to step down.”

Gallant did not respond to messages left Tuesday night on his office telephone and cellphone.

The sheriffs’ association website was updated Tuesday night to show that he was no longer the group’s president.

Timothy Turner, chairman of the Oxford County Commissioners, said commissioners met with Gallant during a county budget meeting Tuesday night, but did not take any actions to discipline him. He said commissioners are aware of the situation.

“We as commissioners can’t do anything about it,” said Turner, who referred all questions to the county attorney, Bryan Dench of Lewiston.

WGME quoted the county attorney as saying that commissioners could file a report about the incident with the governor’s office, who has the authority to determine if a state statute was violated and if disciplinary action should be taken against Gallant.

It is not known how the TV station acquired the sexually explicit photograph of Gallant, but the station’s report comes amid a national outpouring of allegations of sexual misconduct against men that has reached the highest levels of the media, business, entertainment and politics.

The sheriffs’ association is a nonprofit organization whose mission, according to its website, is to “improve and professionalize the sheriff’s offices in Maine and to assure that call citizens receive the highest-quality law enforcement and jail services in an efficient, courteous and humane manner.”

Other sheriffs in the association expressed surprise when they were told about the WGME report and did not want to comment to the Press Herald until they learned more about the situation.

“This is unbelievable if it’s true,” York County Sheriff William L. King Jr. said Tuesday night. King serves as secretary of the association.

Past association president Joel Merry, the Sagadahoc County sheriff, also was surprised by the report.

“It’s news to most of us,” he said.

Joyce, the Cumberland County sheriff, said he was caught off guard by Gallant’s admission.

“I’m kind of shocked to be honest,” Joyce said Tuesday night after being told about the station’s report. “I don’t know what to say. This is the first I’ve heard of it.”

After being informed of the incident, Joyce polled other members of the sheriffs’ association’s executive board, which issued the statement that Joyce would become acting president.

Joyce said Gallant is well-respected in the law enforcement community.

“Wayne is an honorable guy and a military veteran, a take-care-of-business kind of guy,” Joyce said. “He is someone I admire.”

Gallant served in the Army during the Vietnam War, according to a profile posted Nov. 12 on the website of the Sun Journal in Lewiston. Gallant, who often volunteers at events for veterans, he had lived in Rumford all of his life before recently moving to Bethel.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

]]>, 21 Nov 2017 23:28:36 +0000
Police probe allegations that teacher at Freeport High ‘sexted’ with student Tue, 21 Nov 2017 23:24:36 +0000 Freeport police and school officials said Tuesday that they are investigating allegations that a teacher at Freeport High School has been “sexting” a student.

The Freeport officials would verify only that an investigation is underway, but did not identify the teacher, his or her age, or length of tenure. Sexting is sending sexually explicit photographs or messages to another person via a cellphone.

“The Freeport Police Department has been made aware of an allegation that there was unlawful telephonic contact between a teacher and student over the past month or so,” said Freeport police Lt. Nathaniel Goodman in a statement Tuesday night. “The case is in the preliminary stage and we are not going to make any further statements about the details of an ongoing investigation at this time.”

Regional School Unit 5 officials also declined to provide details of the sexting allegations at Freeport High, which serves more than 500 students from Freeport, Durham and Pownal in grades 9-12.

In an email response to questions about the allegations, RSU 5 Superintendent Becky Foley said she is unable, as a matter of law, to discuss personnel issues such as the teacher’s identity and employment status.

“However, if there is ever an allegation of a boundary issue between an adult and students, including one of sexting, we take immediate action to investigate and to ensure the safety of students entrusted in our care,” Foley said in a statement.

Foley declined to comment further regarding the teacher’s gender and length of tenure, and whether the teacher went through the school district’s background check process.

WCSH-TV reported that the student who has been receiving the graphic images is a minor.

Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Alexander also issued a statement, saying: “We take the safety of our students very seriously and investigate all matters brought to our attention. We have policies in place and we take any situation with great seriousness.”

“We are concerned for all students all of the time,” Alexander said.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

]]>, 22 Nov 2017 00:13:39 +0000
Skowhegan woman sentenced to 6 months for endangering her child Tue, 21 Nov 2017 22:29:07 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — A local woman who was arrested July 31 after police found her lying unconscious next to a naked infant in an apartment filthy with cat feces, vomit, empty prescription bottles and beer cans is back in jail.

Stephanie Freeman, 28, listed by the courts now as a transient, was arrested by Skowhegan police just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday on a charge of failure to appear in court. She also was arrested on a bail revocation and on a warrant charging unsworn falsification, meaning that she allegedly made a written false statement knowing that the statement was not true.

In handwritten letters to the court in Skowhegan, Freeman claims to have three children and also claims to have been harassed by police and falsely charged with crimes that led her to be charged with violating the conditions of release and therefore unable to look after her children.

The district attorney’s office has objected to the admission of the letters, according to court documents. The unsworn falsification is alleged to have taken place Sept. 22. Freeman is scheduled to appear Wednesday in court on that charge.

She was to have appeared Monday at the Somerset County Jail to begin serving time after her conviction on the July charge of endangering the welfare of a child. She originally was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with all but seven days suspended and one year of probation; but after violating the conditions of release, she was given 180 days straight time with none of it suspended.

The jail sentence was stayed, or postponed, until Monday.

A probation revocation form was put into Freeman’s file Oct. 16 by a community corrections officer on three counts of new criminal conduct. The corrections officer cites the new criminal charges in the revocation form: refusing to sign an issued summons, refusing to submit to arrest and running from police and testing positive for cannabis and Suboxone, according to court documents.

The arrests all occurred in October while Freeman was on probation. The conditions of her release included abstaining from illegal drugs or alcohol.

Freeman was arrested in early July for failure to appear on another charge. She was arrested again in September on the same charge and for writing a bad check in August.

Explaining the incident involving endangering the welfare of a child in late July, Skowhegan police Chief David Bucknam said officers were sent to an apartment house on Waterville Road after a noise complaint. Officers Brian Gardiner and Jacob Boudreau went there and could hear music blaring from the apartment, he said. Unable to get the attention of anyone in the apartment, the officers looked in through an open window on the side of the building and saw “a small infant with no clothes on and an adult female in the fetal position” lying on the floor, according to the chief.

After the officers saw the debris scattered around the apartment and “fearing for the welfare of the residents,” they climbed through the window and tried to wake up the woman, later identified as Freeman, Bucknam said.

“The infant child woke, but they were unable to keep the female awake due to her level of intoxication,” Bucknam said. “DHHS and medical units were called to the scene to assist.”

Once inside the apartment, the officers also noticed that there was no electrical power in the apartment and that someone had used an extension cord from a neighboring apartment to play a radio. Inside the refrigerator the officers found a half-empty 30-pack of beer and an old package of cheese, but no other food.

Bucknam said this week that Freeman’s child is staying with a family member.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


]]> 0, 22 Nov 2017 08:44:19 +0000
Former Ogunquit town manager heads to trial on theft charges Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:30:25 +0000 The former town manager of Ogunquit is headed for trial next week on charges stemming from the alleged theft of town parking fees.

Thomas Fortier allegedly used teenage town workers who were on his baseball team to collect $400 in parking fees in Ogunquit on July 4, 2016, after the town lots were supposed to stop taking payments for the holiday.

He is also accused of pocketing the money himself instead of turning it over to the town.

Thomas Fortier

Fortier was summoned in August 2016 after an investigation by Wells police. Wells police were called in by Ogunquit officials who wanted to avoid questions about any conflicts of interest involving an investigation of a town official.

Fortier was placed on paid leave after he was summoned, and resigned in February under a deal that called on the town to continue paying his salary through the end of June.

Jury selection in the case is scheduled for Tuesday in York County Superior Court and the trial will begin Nov. 27.

Court officials have scheduled the trial to run all next week.

Fortier was a controversial figure in Ogunquit, where he was hired as town manager in 2009.

Defenders said he was an effective leader who kept taxes down in the oceanside town.

But his personal finances drew criticism after he borrowed money from elected town officials, although the loans were repaid.

He was also a suspect in the 2012 theft of $10,200 in Memorial Day weekend parking receipts from a town hall safe, but no one was ever charged.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

]]> 0 lefsyef seyf sey esf yd yy lefsyef seyf sey esf yd yyd ydTue, 21 Nov 2017 12:56:58 +0000
Portland police identify man arrested after Old Port shooting Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:07:31 +0000 Police have identified a man arrested after a shooting in Portland’s Old Port early Saturday morning.

Joseph Gonzalez was arrested near Congress Street and Deering Avenue about 1:30 a.m. while officers were investigating the shooting, police said. He was found to have a handgun with an altered serial number, along with a small amount of cocaine. He has been charged with refusing to submit to arrest or detention because, police said, he ran when officers attempted to question him. He is also charged with criminal simulation – which relates to the alleged altering of the gun’s serial number – and possession of scheduled drugs.

Police said no one has been charged in connection with the shooting, which took place on Dana Street near Wharf Street, and their investigation is continuing.

According to police, two men got into an altercation on Dana Street shortly after 1 a.m. and one of them pulled out a handgun. The two struggled over the gun and a man standing nearby was injured when the gun went off. The injured man was treated at Mercy Hospital and released.

A suspect fled from the scene of the shooting, police said. He is described as a white man, 5 feet 7 inches to 6-feet tall, with a thin build and wearing a gray T-shirt and red jacket.

The police are asking that anyone with information about the incident call (207) 874-8575.

]]> 0, 21 Nov 2017 06:59:29 +0000
Freeport High School evacuated because of bomb threat Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:20:25 +0000 Freeport High School was evacuated Monday afternoon when school officials discovered a bomb threat that had been written on a student’s desk.

No bombs were found, and the student who made the threat has yet to be identified.

In a statement Monday evening, Cynthia Alexander, assistant superintendent for RSU 5, said high school students were immediately evacuated to the nearby Morse Street elementary school for the remainder of the school day. Morse Street is within easy walking distance of the high school.

“Today, at 12:50 p.m., a student bomb threat was found written on a desk at Freeport High School,” Alexander said. “Students were immediately evacuated to Morse Street School for the remainder of the school day in accordance with the district’s safety plan.”

Alexander said the Portland Police Department brought in its K-9 team to assist local police and firefighters in a search of the high school but were unable to find anything.

“We are working with the police to investigate who made the threat and we will do everything in our power to see that the person is prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Alexander said.

In an email alerting parents that high school students were relocated to the Morse Street School gym, Morse Street Principal Julie Nickerson said there was no threat to students at Morse Street School.

]]> 0, 20 Nov 2017 20:26:31 +0000
Jury deadlocks on 20 charges, acquits Lincoln County deputy on 2 others in sexual abuse trial Mon, 20 Nov 2017 16:50:46 +0000 The Kennebec County jury seeking a verdict in the sexual assault trial of a Lincoln County deputy deadlocked on 20 counts and found him not guilty on two other counts.

Kenneth L. Hatch, 47, of Whitefield had been charged with 22 felonies – 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of unlawful sexual contact, and eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana. He was accused of sexually assaulting three girls and providing them marijuana and alcohol in exchange for sex.

Hatch was found not guilty on one count of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of aggravated furnishing of marijuana.

He had no visible reaction when the verdicts were read, although audible gasps came from the group of eight women and one man seated behind him in the courtroom.

Richard Elliott, Hatch’s attorney, said the state Attorney General’s Office will have to decide whether to retry Hatch.

“There’s no indication at this time whether they will do that or not,” Elliott said.

Assistant Attorney General John Risler would not say Monday whether the state would seek to retry Hatch. The prosecutor said the defense and prosecution will meet with the judge Dec. 20 to determine the status of the remaining charges. Before the conference, Risler plans to talk with each of the three women who accused Hatch of assaulting them.

Justice William Stokes polled the jury of seven women and five men; each attested they were deadlocked and further deliberation would not resolve that. He declared a manifest need for a mistrial on counts one to 12 and 15 to 22.

Risler said the jury sent out a note, which the judge read into the court record, in which they underlined the words, “We are done deliberating.”

The drug counts allege that Hatch gave marijuana to two of the young girls in exchange for sex. In one of those instances, the state contends the marijuana came from evidence he had seized.

The jury deliberated for about five hours Friday and three hours Monday before determining it was deadlocked on the 20 counts.

“It was a fairly long deliberation for a Maine jury, but given the number of counts jurors had to consider it’s not that unusual,” said Walter McKee, a prominent Augusta-based defense attorney who has been involved in more than 200 jury trials in his 25-year career. “It shows the jury was doing its job and there is no science to determine how long that will take.”

McKee said the two sides can ask the judge for permission to poll the jurors about why they could not reach a verdict on all the counts. The poll – it could be in writing or by phone – could prove useful to the prosecution and the defense, and especially to the state as it tries to determine if the case should be retried, McKee said.

Elliott, Hatch’s attorney, was pleased with the result.

“They obviously considered this long and hard. Any time there is a hung jury, it shows the jury took their positions seriously and didn’t move from them,” he said. “They stuck to their guns, and I am always impressed by that.”

Hatch made no comment Monday.

Elliott didn’t know why the jury was able to come to an agreement on two counts but not the others.

“The state indicated in its closing that there were a couple of counts where the dates had shifted, but I don’t know why the jury came in with that verdict,” he said.

He said Hatch, who has been free on bail, was extremely relieved at the verdicts.

“He would like to see all ‘not guilties,’ but two ‘not guilties’ and 20 hung means we live to fight another day,” Elliott said.

Stokes agreed to make two changes to the bail conditions. Over the state’s objection, Stokes said Hatch will be able to have access to his shotgun and rifle for hunting season, and his visits with his nieces will no longer have to be reported to the Attorney General’s Office.

“We were a little disappointed in Lincoln County’s attitude throughout this whole thing,” Elliott said, noting that Hatch was out on disability when the charges were brought. “I think they were waiting to see if he was convicted before they made any decisions.”

Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett was not present in court Monday. Brackett was in the courtroom Friday to watch closing statements, but was not allowed to attend the trial because he was a potential witness. He was not called to testify.

Hatch has been on unpaid leave from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office since he was charged in June 2016. On Monday, Brackett said Hatch remains on unpaid administrative leave.

Elliott said all three accusers knew each other and had an ax to grind against the deputy. He cited several inconsistencies in the testimony of the accusers compared with previous statements they gave to investigators.

The prosecution said the defense’s arguments about why the girls would make false claims did not hold water. Risler, the prosecutor, said inconsistencies are not unusual given the time that has passed since the alleged abuse.

Hatch was named deputy of the year in 2015. He had previously been a detective sergeant with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, but was demoted in 2013 for unspecified reasons. An investigation by the Attorney General’s Office resulted in a decision not to prosecute.

John Rogers, the director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, said Hatch’s certification to serve as a law enforcement officer in Maine will remain on interim suspension until the conclusion of the criminal cases. The interim suspension was agreed to by the academy board and Hatch last fall.

Press Herald Staff Writer Dennis Hoey and Courier-Gazette Staff Writer Stephen Betts contributed to this report.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:


]]> County Deputy Sheriff Ken Hatch listens Monday to opening remarks at his trial on 22 charges, including sexual abuse of a minor, in Augusta. Hatch is on unpaid leave from the agency. Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:45:44 +0000
Man robs Circle K in China at gunpoint Sun, 19 Nov 2017 17:47:08 +0000 A man armed with a gun robbed the Circle K store on Lakeview Drive in China on Sunday morning.

Maine State Police said in a news release the robber entered the store at about 4:30 a.m. and demanded cash from the store cashier. The man fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

He is described as wearing blue jeans, a black hooded jacket and a mask.

There were no other patrons in the store at the time of the robbery. No one was hurt.

Police searched the area with a police dog to no avail.

Anyone at the store or in the area between 4:30 and 4:45 a.m. is asked to call state police at 624-7076.



]]> 0, 19 Nov 2017 16:24:43 +0000
After 911 ‘butt’ call, York police raid underage party, return to arrest man in attic Sun, 19 Nov 2017 14:02:17 +0000 A minor who police said accidentally pocket-dialed 911 led authorities to an underage drinking party in York early Sunday morning that prompted a standoff and the arrest of a man allegedly involved in the illegal celebration.

York police said in a statement that they responded to a 911 hangup call at 63 Cider Hill Road around 12:46 a.m.

Sgt. Luke Ernenwein said the dispatcher could hear yelling and people arguing at the other end of the phone line, but there was no one on the line to talk to.

Police, using cellphone towers, identified the approximate location of the 911 call, and when they pulled into the driveway, the homeowner – Leighlon Anderson, 45 – came running out to apologize about the errant call for help.

She was then charged with furnishing/allowing minors to consume alcohol.

“The butt dial was the reason for our involvement,” Ernenwein said, adding that dispatchers receive a lot of pocket dial calls that simply cannot be investigated.

“Butt dialing” or pocket dialing occurs when someone inadvertently presses against a phone while it is in his or her pocket or handbag. The person who receives the call typically hears random background noise. Some smartphones have a 911 emergency button on the screen, which in this case was probably pressed by the phone’s owner, Ernenwein said.

The 911 call early Sunday attracted the attention of York police because it sounded like someone could be in distress, he explained.

After Anderson was charged, York police cleared the residence and left the scene.

But at 1:39 a.m. police received a call reporting that a male at the 63 Cider Hill Road home had pointed a firearm at one of the minors at the party.

Ernenwein said that when police returned to the home, they determined that Joseph David Coreau, 36, of Kittery was hiding in the attic.

Police evacuated the house for safety and surrounded it while waiting for the Southern Maine Special Response Team – a York County SWAT-type unit – to arrive.

Police learned from those evacuated from the house that Coreau was agitated after learning that police had been accidentally called there by one of the minors. Coreau retrieved a gun and pointed it at one of the minors before he retreated to the attic.

He emerged from the attic before the special response team arrived. He was charged with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and taken to the York County Jail, where he is being held on $5,000 bail.

Kittery police helped York Police secure the scene and take Coreau into custody.

There were no injuries. Police said they recovered three loaded guns from the attic where Coreau was hiding.


]]> 0, 20 Nov 2017 21:48:14 +0000
Shotgun blasts near South Portland’s Greenbelt lead to transient’s arrest Sun, 19 Nov 2017 13:35:01 +0000 A homeless man was arrested on several charges after South Portland police responded to reports of shots fired in the South Portland Greenbelt walkway near Mildred Street on Saturday night.

Terry Tucker Cumberland County Jail

Police said in a news release that Terry Tucker, 28, who has no known local address, was arrested after police received reports at 8:32 p.m. of vehicle break-ins at Mildred Street area parking lot, and, minutes later, reports of gunshots in the area.

Officers responding to the scene heard more gunshots and found Tucker, who initially refused to put his gun down. He eventually complied but refused to cooperate further. He was taken into custody by officers using vehicles and tactical shields.

Tucker was charged with reckless conduct with a firearm, burglary of a motor vehicle by force, threatening display of a firearm, violating conditions of release from prior charges, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of an illegal drug and theft of a firearm. More charges may follow, police said.

Tucker is being held at Cumberland County Jail.

]]> 0, 20 Nov 2017 08:13:17 +0000
Fairfield man accused in wife’s slaying awaits hearing on suppressing evidence Sun, 19 Nov 2017 01:01:02 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — One year ago, Luc Tieman, an Army veteran from Fairfield, went before a judge in Somerset County Superior Court to plead not guilty to a charge of knowing or intentional murder in the death of his wife, Valerie Tieman.

The killing is alleged to have happened the previous August. Authorities charge that Tieman buried her body in his parents’ backyard and that he later concocted contradictory stories about what happened.

Tieman, 34, remains held without bail at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison as he awaits an evidence-suppression hearing scheduled for Dec. 4.

His murder trial is scheduled for jury selection March 29, with the trial to follow on April 2.

Tieman, who might be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from a mortar explosion in combat, was indicted by a Somerset County grand jury on a charge of murder in connection with the death of his wife, who was 34.

Valerie Tieman was reported missing Sept. 9, 2016, by her parents, who live in South Carolina, after they had not heard from her for more than two weeks.

The murder is alleged to have taken place Aug. 25 – 15 days before her parents reported her missing and five days before Tieman claimed his wife disappeared from the Walmart parking lot in Skowhegan. He did not report her missing.

Tieman initially told police that she disappeared from his pickup truck outside Walmart in Skowhegan but later said she died of a drug overdose.

An autopsy report from the State Medical Examiner’s Office says Valerie Tieman died from two gunshot wounds to the head and was found buried in Luc Tieman’s parents’ backyard off Norridgewock Road in Fairfield.

According to court records, Luc Tieman’s defense attorney, Stephen Smith, filed a motion to suppress as evidence statements Tieman is alleged to have made to state police detectives in September 2016.

Smith says in the motion that Tieman was actually in police custody without the benefit of having been read his right to remain silent under the Miranda rules.

According to a court affidavit filed by Detective Hugh Landry and cited in Smith’s motion to suppress: “Luc initially denied any knowledge of the body, then changed his statement,” saying that Valerie had a drug addiction and that he witnessed her overdose and die.

“Luc said he brought home heroin for Valerie and loaded a needle for her. She took the needle and injected herself. Luc said Valerie smiled at him and then stopped breathing. Luc stated he left her in bed until late at night and then took her outside and dug a trench and buried her.”

Smith contends that Luc Tieman made the statements to multiple police officers in what “a reasonable person” would perceive to constitute police custody.

According to the autopsy report, Valerie Tieman’s cause of death was “gunshot wounds of head and neck,” and she was “shot by other person(s),” meaning it was not a suicide.

When her body was found, it was “clad in damp clothing consisting of brown boots, bright yellow/green socks, a grey T-shirt, blue jeans and a navy shirt,” according to the report dated Oct. 5. It was signed by Clare Bryce, a medical doctor and deputy chief medical examiner who performed the autopsy Sept. 21, the day after Tieman’s body was found.

Beneath the body were a bag of potato chips, a bottle of perfume and a note that “reportedly has an apologetic tone,” according to investigators.

In interviews with the Morning Sentinel, Luc Tieman’s friends said he had been unfaithful to his wife and sought companionship with other women, telling them his marriage was ending around the time she disappeared.


]]> 0 Tieman leaves court in Skowhegan in February after entering a not guilty plea in the killing of his wife, whose body was found buried in his parents' backyard in Fairfield.Sat, 18 Nov 2017 20:13:53 +0000
Still no arrest in Portland bank robbery Sat, 18 Nov 2017 22:20:58 +0000 Portland police have not yet made an arrest in the robbery of a KeyBank branch in North Deering on Friday, a police spokesman said Saturday evening.

Police are searching for a man with a semi-automatic handgun who robbed the KeyBank branch on Auburn Street about 2 p.m. Friday.

Lt. Robert Martin said police did not have any updates about the robbery to release to the public on Saturday.

Police shut down parts of three streets Friday night in East Deering as they searched for the bank robber. Police would not say how much money was taken.

The man, who was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and a black wig, was described by witnesses as white, thin and having a deep voice.

He fled the bank on foot. He was last seen on Brook Road, police said Friday in a news release.

Maine State Police, Falmouth police and the FBI joined Portland police in the manhunt that shut down the neighborhood near Presumpscot Street and Ocean Avenue for several hours. The area was reopened just after 9 p.m. Friday.

Staff Writer Joe Lawlor contributed to this report.

]]> 0, 18 Nov 2017 18:05:30 +0000
Man charged with domestic violence, threatening pregnant girlfriend in Cushing Sat, 18 Nov 2017 16:05:38 +0000 CUSHING — Bail was set Friday at $10,000 cash for a man accused of being heavily armed while threatening his pregnant girlfriend in Cushing last week.

Joseph E. Seward, 33, of Aston, Pennsylvania, remained at the Knox County Jail in Rockland on Saturday, charged with felony domestic violence threatening with a dangerous weapon, and domestic violence assault.

Seward was arrested Nov. 15 in Rockport by officers from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Camden and Rockport police departments following the incident that had occurred earlier in the day in Cushing.

An affidavit filed in Knox County Unified Court by Knox County Detective Dwight Burtis reported that a small handgun, shotgun and small rifle as well as a large cache of ammunition were found inside the car he had been driving.

Police were called to a residence on Prior Lane in Cushing on Wednesday for a report that Seward was threatening his pregnant girlfriend, according to the affidavit. He had displayed a handgun while arguing with the woman and then he went to the car and pulled out the shotgun from under a blanket.

He fled after police were called.

The woman told police that Seward had assaulted several times over the past few months including punching her multiple times on the previous Saturday, according to the detective’s affidavit.

Investigators took photographs of bruises the woman suffered at the hands of Seward as well as from bites from Seward’s small dog that had attacker her during their physical altercations, according to police. There were also threatening text messages, according to the affidavit.

Seward was in the Knox County court last month where a domestic violence assault charge was dismissed and he was convicted of obstructing the report of a crime, disorderly conduct, and theft from an incident on May 3 in Thomaston. He was fined a total of $1,000.

]]> 0, 18 Nov 2017 16:53:24 +0000
Man injured in Old Port shooting Sat, 18 Nov 2017 13:40:27 +0000 A man suffered a minor injury when he was shot by another man in the Portland’s Old Port about 1 a.m. Saturday, Portland police said.

The shooting took place near Dana and Wharf streets, and the suspected shooter is in custody, Lt. Robert Martin confirmed in an email Saturday evening. The victim was released after treatment from Mercy Hospital.

Martin did not identify either the suspected gunman or the victim. He said more details, including the name of the person arrested, will likely be released on Monday.

The incident is still under investigation, police said.

Witnesses or anyone with information about the shooting are being urged to call police at 874-8575.

]]> 0 scene tape police car genericSat, 18 Nov 2017 22:32:02 +0000
Portland police close streets during search for bank robbery suspect Sat, 18 Nov 2017 01:35:44 +0000 Police shut down parts of three streets Friday night as they searched for a man with a semiautomatic handgun who robbed the Key Bank on Auburn Street Friday afternoon, threatening and employees and demanding cash before fleeing on foot toward the back of the Northgate Shopping Center.

The robbery occurred just after 2 p.m. Police would not say how much money was taken.

The suspect was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt, sunglasses and a wig with long black hair when he robbed the bank. Eyewitnesses described him as white, thin, and having a deep voice. He was last seen on Brook Road, police said in a statement. The police ask anyone with information to call them at 207-874-8575.

The FBI, Maine State Police and Falmouth police joined city police in a manhunt that closed down the neighborhood near the intersection of Presumpscot Street and Ocean Avenue for hours. People who live in the area said they had been told to remain inside their homes.

The suspect remained at large late Friday night.

Police had reopened the intersection of Presumpscot and Ocean just south of the Falmouth line just after 9 p.m., but police vehicles remained parked outside 1021 Ocean Ave. A trophy shop is listed at that address, but it appeared as if someone lived in a house on the property, too.

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 22:53:06 +0000
Bail revoked for former Windham man who bilked elderly neighbor Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:38:39 +0000 A judge refused Friday to grant bail to a former Windham man who twice failed to show up for trial, pleaded guilty to financially exploiting an elderly neighbor and then failed to show up for his sentencing hearing last month.

The no-bail decision stems from an arrest warrant Justice Andrew Horton issued after Theodore Thomes was a no-show at his scheduled sentencing hearing Oct. 19. Thomes also faces a new charge of failure to appear and Horton set the bail on that charge at $10,000 cash, but the warrant Horton issued will keep Thomes behind bars.

He will be sentenced Nov. 29 on the financial exploitation charges and the hearing on the new charges will be held in January.

Thomes pleaded guilty in July to bilking an elderly neighbor, Don Penta, of about $300,000 in cash and possessions. Thomes’ guilty plea was part of a deal with prosecutors, who said they would ask for sentences of six years, all but three suspended, on three counts of theft by deception. Those sentences would run concurrently, as would sentences of nine months each on six counts of evading state income taxes, meaning Thomes would spend three years in jail and three on probation.

His plea was delayed after he failed to show up for two previous trial dates, saying that hip replacement surgery in the U.S. Virgin Islands created a scheduling conflict for him.

Prosecutors and Thomes’ lawyer had agreed that they would discuss restitution, along with a state tax bill of nearly $50,000, at his sentencing, but Thomes did not appear.

At the time of Thomes’ guilty plea, Horton allowed Thomes to travel back to his home in the Virgin Islands to get hip replacement surgery before his sentencing. Horton warned Thomes that he expected him back in court in Maine on Oct. 19, barring “a major hurricane.”

But Hurricane Maria hit the Virgin Islands a month before the sentencing and Thomes argued that he couldn’t return to the mainland because of the devastation. He said Friday that his trailer in the islands was destroyed in the storm and his lawyer said electricity is not expected to be restored to Thomes’ property until June.

Horton said he considered the month between the hurricane’s strike and Thomes’ sentencing enough time to arrange to come back to Maine. As a result, at the time of the scheduled sentencing, Horton revoked Thomes’ $10,000 cash post-conviction bail and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Thomes returned to the state Tuesday. He is on federal probation for a 2015 conviction for possession of firearms by a felon related to guns that he stole from Penta. Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said Thomes’ federal probation officer gave him “strong encouragement” to return to Maine and he flew last week to Washington, D.C. However, Thomes said his connecting flight to Maine was canceled and he ended up completing his travel by train.

Robbin told Horton on Friday that might have been a ruse to avoid being arrested by Portland police on his arrival at the Portland International Jetport and being taken immediately to Cumberland County Jail. He ended up staying with a friend Tuesday night and reported to the jail Wednesday, but officials there said they didn’t have his paperwork, so he stayed with a friend a second night and turned himself in Thursday.

A common refrain throughout Thomes’ involvement with the court system has been his ailing hip. Although he finally got replacement surgery in the Virgin Islands on Aug. 30, his lawyer, Devens Hamlen, told Horton that the hurricane had kept Thomes from getting post-surgery physical therapy. Hamlen also said that jail officials wouldn’t take Thomes to Maine Medical Center on Friday morning for a therapy appointment. Jail officials told Horton that they don’t honor appointments prisoners make on their own, but they would have Thomes evaluated by the jail’s medical staff and follow its recommendations on any treatment.

Horton said that should suffice and he refused to set bail for Thomes on the arrest warrant, saying Hamlen could return to court if medical arrangements were insufficient and he couldn’t work it out with jail officials.

Thomes directed some ire at Robbin, saying state officials didn’t appreciate the difficulties of living in the Virgin Islands after the hurricane hit. “I don’t even have a trailer. My home is gone,” he said. “This is ludicrous, I just wanted to get my hip done and do my time. If I don’t get the (hip) rehab, it’s on her and the state.”

But Robbin said Thomes has played the system to buy him more time outside of jail. “He’s essentially got over a month’s continuance” on his sentencing, she said. “He has been manipulating the court system.”

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

]]> 0 Thomes, standing next to his lawyer, Devens Hamlen, speaks on his own behalf during a hearing Friday at the Cumberland County Courthouse.Sat, 18 Nov 2017 00:01:13 +0000
Jurors in Lincoln County deputy’s sex assault trial break for weekend Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:37:38 +0000 AUGUSTA — A Kennebec County jury deliberated for about five hours Friday before being sent home for the weekend in the trial of a veteran Lincoln County deputy accused of sexually assaulting three young girls over more than a decade.

Kenneth L. Hatch, 47, of Whitefield is charged with 22 felonies – 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of unlawful sexual contact, and eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana. The drug counts allege that he gave marijuana to two of his alleged victims in exchange for sex. In one of those instances, the state contends the marijuana came from evidence he had seized.

The jury is scheduled to resume deliberations at 8:30 a.m. Monday. The defense and the state completed closing arguments Friday morning.

Assistant Attorney General John Risler said this was a case about the abuse of trust. He asked the jury to hold Hatch accountable.

Defense attorney Richard Elliott said all three accusers knew each other and had an ax to grind against the deputy.

He also cited a number of inconsistencies in the testimony of the accusers compared to previous statements they gave to investigators. His closing arguments lasted a little more than an hour.

“I can’t keep up with the stories, they changed so much,” Elliott said.

He said the prosecution’s case was a house of cards and that if there were lies in some stories, then the rest of the case was faulty.

The inconsistencies Elliott cited included testimony of one of the accusers who described an assault when she was 6 years old occurring in a log cabin where Hatch lived. The defense attorney pointed out, however, that Hatch was not yet living in the log cabin, but in an adjacent home.

Elliott said one accuser was angry at Hatch and his wife because they had told her they would do no more to help her raise her baby and Hatch would not oversee supervised visits between the baby and the father.

Elliott said another accuser was upset because Hatch had questioned her 13 years ago about her then-boyfriend’s involvement in a possible attempt to bomb the Hartford, Connecticut, police station.

The prosecutor said the defense arguments as to why the girls would make up false claims did not hold water. He said inconsistencies are not unusual, because of the passage of time and the age of the girls at the time of the alleged abuse.

The defense attorney said the Hatches had many young people at their home – both boys and girls – and that Hatch would buy them gifts or take them hunting or fishing.

“This was a house that takes in strays, from troubled homes,” Elliott said.

Hatch has been on unpaid leave from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office since he was charged in June 2016.

He was named deputy of the year in 2015. He had previously been a detective sergeant with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, but was demoted in 2013 for reasons not specified other than that an investigation by the Maine Attorney General’s Office resulted in a decision not to prosecute.

Sheriff Todd Brackett came to watch closing statements. He was not allowed to attend the trial because he was a potential witness, but was not called to testify.

The alleged sex assaults often occurred in Hatch’s police cruiser, at his home, a victim’s home, and one time in a cubicle at the sheriff’s office, witnesses said during the weeklong trial.

The first of the alleged assaults occurred in September 1999.

The defense also tried to discredit Hatch’s accusers by asking the deputy to testify about a medical condition that he said affects the shape of his penis, and pointing out that the alleged victims said they noticed nothing unusual. Hatch testified that he took a photo of his genitals Wednesday to be shown to the jury as evidence.

Risler discounted that argument, telling jurors there was no corroborating evidence from doctors about this condition.

Justice William Stokes is presiding over the trial, which began Monday.

]]> HatchFri, 17 Nov 2017 19:33:45 +0000
MaineCare had barred payments to Lewiston oral surgeon accused of restraining patients Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:20:00 +0000 AUGUSTA — A Lewiston oral surgeon fighting to keep his license in the face of allegations of incompetence and a lack of professionalism acknowledged at a hearing before the Maine Board of Dental Practice on Friday that he’s no longer allowed to treat patients on MaineCare.

During six hours on the stand, Dr. Jan Kippax said that because about half of his patients rely on MaineCare to pay for dental work, the move is making it difficult for him to stay in business.

“My numbers have gone way, way down,” he told five members of the board.

He said that given the charges levied against him and the publicity about them, it is difficult to continue his Main Street practice.

Almost two years after the first of a handful of complaints lodged against him, Kippax testified at a hearing that may force him out of the profession entirely.

It marked the third day of testimony in the ongoing administrative trial by the dental board members who are weighing the testimony of patients, experts and Kippax. It will continue Saturday when expert witnesses are expected to weigh in.

During the first two days of testimony in September, five of Kippax’s former patients detailed experiences with him that left them so shaken they reported his actions to the dental board for possible sanction.

They alleged that Kippax had failed to control their pain, allowed bleeding to go untreated, restrained them improperly and refused to stop extractions when they pleaded with him to cease.

Kippax strongly denied he’d done anything improper, and two of his assistants, including one who worked at his side on all five cases, backed him up Friday. Each of the aides said the testimony of the five former patients was off the mark.

One patient who had eight teeth pulled, Joshua Robbins, said he woke up to find Kippax holding him down as he yelled and pleaded for the dentist to stop.

But Mindy LeMont, who was in the room to keep an eye on his breathing, said Robbins didn’t stir until the procedure was finished. Only after Kippax left the room, she said, did Robbins begin waking up.

“He was very agitated. He was yelling,” LeMont said, and she felt so frightened that she stepped back to escape his attention.

Kippax said part of the problem he faced is that he was willing to take low-income, sometimes troubled patients, about a quarter of whom were current or former drug addicts. They don’t always react well to the drugs required to sedate them, he said.

They “act out and see things” sometimes, he said. “These people have serious issues that are behind the drugs.”

“These people have a real set of baggage that’s going on in their brains and you don’t know how they’re going to react,” he said. “These are difficult, combative patients.”

Kippax suggested that some of his accusers were upset because he wouldn’t give them addictive drugs that are much sought-after on the streets. He said he took great care to try to balance the desire to combat pain with the responsibility he felt to keep opioids out of the hands of people who might abuse them.

At one point, attorney James Belleau, who represents Kippax, raised questions about a March 2016 inspection report by an investigator for the board, Dr. David Moyer.

Moyer apparently included some positive remarks about Kippax and his office in the report that were subsequently edited out of a final version passed on by the board’s executive director, Penny Vaillancourt.

“I don’t know why she would do that and it’s concerning,” Kippax said.

Vaillancourt has said she can’t talk about anything related to the case. The exhibits shown to board members, including the report, have not made been made available despite a Freedom of Access Act request from the Sun Journal weeks ago.

The board has the power to censure or fine Kippax or to pull his license to practice. Last winter, it agreed to suspend him temporarily pending the outcome of the hearing, but didn’t move ahead on the proceedings until long after the 30-day suspension expired.

Kippax began to practice again last summer and is fighting to preserve both his license and his reputation. He is also licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Vermont.

]]> 0 Jan Kippax, at a hearing Sept. 29 before the Maine Board of Dental Examiners, was accused of failing to comply with the standards of care when treating a Minot man whose jaw became infected after tooth extractions.Fri, 17 Nov 2017 20:14:19 +0000
Second suspect charged with torching bulldozer Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:10:24 +0000

Alexander Allan

A second man has been charged with setting fire to  construction equipment in Sandy River Plantation recently, police said.

Alexander Allan, 37, of Dallas Plantation, was arrested on a charge of arson, a Class A felony, by investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s Office Thursday night, according to a press release from Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.

On Tuesday, Allan’s roommate, Devon Clark, 18, was arrested for the arson as well.

Both men were taken to the Franklin County Jail in Farmington. Allan’s bail was set at $10,000, while Clark’s bail was set at $175,000 with release on personal recognizance until his court date.

Hunters discovered the burned out Caterpillar D-5 bulldozer in a swampy area off of Beech Hill Road in Sandy River Plantation early Tuesday morning. Sandy River Plantation, bisected by Route 4, is just south of Rangeley and about 30 miles northwest of Farmington.

Devon Clark

The damage to the bulldozer was estimated at $100,000, according to police.

An excavator also stolen from the worksite and was damaged.

Both pieces of equipment are owned by Cousineau Wood Products of Wilton, which also owns the land they were found on. The equipment was being used to repair a road on the property, McCausland said.

More arrests are likely, according to McCausland.

Both the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Warden Service assisted in the case.

]]> 0, 17 Nov 2017 15:58:53 +0000
Lewiston day care owner defends business after theft of handgun, standoff Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:40:11 +0000 LEWISTON — The Lewiston home from which a handgun was stolen this week, leading to a seven-hour police standoff, is located above a day care center.

The day care center, Wing’s Safari, operates out of a basement at the ranch-style home on Laase Avenue. According to court records, the handgun, a Smith & Wesson .380, was stolen from a basket on top of the refrigerator inside the home’s main-floor kitchen.

The theft was quickly reported. The convicted felon accused of taking it, Scott Estes, 37, ran into an apartment building on Bates Street, which was quickly surrounded by local and Maine State Police.

Four schools were ordered locked down Monday during the standoff, which ended peacefully after seven hours of negotiation.

Since the event unfolded, one local parent has come forward to criticize Ashley Wing, who operates the day care center. Among her complaints: the fact that an unsecured handgun was left on top of a refrigerator above the day care center, and the revelation that Estes had been allowed into the home during business hours.

“People trust you with their children,” the Lewiston mother said Thursday, “and you have a firearm on top of your refrigerator and a felon in your home during day care hours?”

According to police documents, Estes went into the home Monday morning with his girlfriend, who operates a cleaning business. He has a criminal history that includes convictions for assault, illegal gun possession, theft and trafficking in prison contraband.

But Wing denied Thursday the implication that unsafe conditions existed at Wing’s Safari. Her home, she said, is kept completely separate from the day care facilities in the basement.

“It’s in a daylight basement with a locked fire door, a locked back door, two separate entrances,” Wing said. “Children are not allowed in my home – everything is separate. We have our own kitchen, bathroom and the children are not allowed upstairs.”

The entrance to Wing’s house faces the street. The day care entrance is at the back of the house. To access it, one has to pass through a fence gate. There is a “no guns” sign on the main door, a security keypad lock and surveillance cameras monitoring the property around the clock.

The interior door separating the day care from Wing’s house is a fire door equipped with a child-proof knob cover.

“This is probably the safest home day care that you’ll ever find,” Wing said.

According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, firearms and ammunition are prohibited in licensed child care facilities. Wing said the rule does not apply to her home because it is classified as a separate dwelling.

She notified state officials minutes after the incident began Monday, and a state official was expected to inspect Wing’s Safari in coming days. In the meantime, Wing said, her license remains intact and she is still providing day care services for her regular customers.

The woman who complained about Wing on Thursday did not want to be identified. She said she has been leaving her children, ages 1 and 3, at the day care since August. She was mostly happy with the service – until Monday.

“Our general impression of the day care,” the woman wrote in a letter to the State Division of Licensing, “was that it seemed clean, well-supplied with plenty of toys, activities, etc. and that the staff were all friendly and attentive. We had a few minor concerns during the past few months that we discussed with Ashley and they were resolved upon discussion.”

In her letter to the Licensing Division, the local mother described conversations she has had with Wing about the way the event unfolded Monday.

“Ashley stated that she has cleaners that she hired to come clean her house every Monday, and that one of the cleaners often brings her boyfriend along, even though Ashley has asked her not to,” the woman wrote.

The day care was locked down for a short time Monday as police searched for Estes.

]]> 0 Resource Officer Charlie Weaver of the Lewiston Police Department talks with a motorist about the lockdown at Lewiston High School on Monday. Fri, 17 Nov 2017 22:05:03 +0000
Felony charge dropped against Lewiston man involved in fatal crash Fri, 17 Nov 2017 03:21:34 +0000 AUBURN — A Lewiston man who was driving with a suspended license when he was involved in a fatal head-on crash in 2013 on Thursday successfully completed a two-year stint during which he was forbidden to drive or run afoul of the law.

Spencer Emerson, 24, of 78 Winter St. appeared in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon, where he was allowed to withdraw an earlier guilty plea to a felony charge and to enter a guilty plea to a misdemeanor of operating after suspension, for which he was fined $250.

He had lost his license and spent a month behind bars two years ago after pleading guilty to a charge of driving to endanger, a misdemeanor. He had faced two felony charges in the crash. Both have been dismissed by prosecutors.

Emerson’s license had been suspended because he had failed to pay a ticket for a civil traffic infraction in April 2013. Had he paid the reinstatement fee after the monthlong suspension, he would have avoided criminal charges in the wake of the July 2013 crash.

Charlene McKeen, 80, of Sabattus was killed when the car in which she was a passenger collided with Emerson’s car on Route 196 in Lewiston. The driver of the car in which McKeen had been a passenger was 80-year-old Arlene Harris of Lisbon, who survived the crash. She suffered fractures to both hip bones, two ribs, her pelvis and an arm. Her liver was bruised and her foot was nearly severed.

Emerson had been listening to music on his iPhone while driving with an earbud in one ear, according to prosecutors. Emerson briefly glanced down and that was the last thing he remembered from the incident. He had not been calling or texting on his phone and there was no indication he was otherwise impaired, prosecutors said.

]]> 0 Emerson appears in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn on Thursday afternoon. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Thu, 16 Nov 2017 23:43:01 +0000
Man sent to prison for taking woman from Maine to New York to work as prostitute Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:53:40 +0000 A former New York man was sentenced in federal court in Portland Thursday to 15 months in prison for transporting a woman across state lines for the purposes of prostitution.

Donovan Miller, 30, formerly of Brooklyn in New York City, was also sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $500 restitution to the woman.

According to authorities, Miller and the victim traveled from Portland to New York City by bus on March 29, 2014. Miller then took the victim to a hotel and introduced her to another woman. Advertisements presenting the victim as a prostitute were posted on, using the phone number of the woman that Miller introduced the victim to in New York.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Portland said Maine is one of six districts nationwide using an Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team, which draws resources from the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Labor to crack down on forced labor and sex trafficking.

]]> 0 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:53:40 +0000
Former Wells man convicted of child sex abuse Thu, 16 Nov 2017 21:44:24 +0000 A former Wells man was convicted of child sex abuse charges in federal court in Portland on Thursday.

William Gaudet, 51, was found guilty, after a four-day trial in U.S. District Court, of interstate transporation of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and interstate travel with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

According to court records and trial evidence, Gaudet twice in 2010 traveled between Maine and Pennsylvania with an 8-year-old child, intending to engage in sexual activity with her. On both occasions, he sexually assaulted the child. The investigation began in 2014 after the child reported the abuse.

Gaudet was convicted in 2012 in New Hampshire Superior Court for sexually assaulting another minor in 2001 and 2005.

He faces between 10 years and life in prison on the transportation charge and up to 30 years in prison on the travel charge, plus a fine of up to $250,000 fine on each count.

He will be sentenced at a later date.

]]> 0, 16 Nov 2017 16:48:33 +0000
After 111-mph chase, Biddeford man fled on foot, leaving toddler in vehicle, police say Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:41:07 +0000

Michael Messier Photo courtesy of Maine State Police

A Biddeford man was arrested early Thursday and accused of leading police on a high-speed chase down the Maine Turnpike with his 2-year-old daughter in the back seat.

The chase ended when Michael Messier, 25, drove off the road, police said. The girl was unhurt.

The incident began around 9 p.m. Wednesday when police say Messier sped past a state police cruiser going 111 mph southbound on the turnpike in Portland.

Trooper Gavin Hagar gave chase, but Messier refused to stop. He lost control of his GMC Terrain SUV at the Saco exit, with the vehicle going down an embankment. Police said Messier ran off, leaving his daughter strapped in a child safety seat in the back.

Saco and Biddeford police searched for Messier but couldn’t immediately find him. He was then arrested around 3 a.m. Thursday when police said he tried to wave down motorists near the crash scene.

The girl was taken to a hospital for a quick check and then reunited with her mother, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Messier was also taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and treated for mild hypothermia.

He was charged with eluding a police officer and violating his bail. The latter charge stemmed from Messier’s release from jail a few days ago on a domestic violence charge, McCausland said.

Messier was taken to the York County Jail. McCausland said additional charges are expected to be filed.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

]]>, 17 Nov 2017 09:26:07 +0000
Former employee charged with setting fire at Lincoln mill Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:31:13 +0000 A man has been charged with setting a fire that destroyed two buildings at the former Lincoln paper mill.

Officials say David Parsons, of Lincoln, a former worker at the mill, was charged Thursday with three counts of arson.

More than a dozen fire departments were called in to help douse the fire that started Wednesday afternoon and destroyed a 300-foot-long warehouse and a scale shed.

The fire raised concerns about toxins on the site. Lincoln officials voted to seek a Superfund designation for the site that’s contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos, dioxin, heavy metals and PCBs.

Arson carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Parsons was held at the Penobscot County Jail, where he couldn’t be reached. It unclear if he’d hired an attorney.

]]> 0 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 15:41:11 +0000
Former Pittsfield man to spend 20 years in prison for child sex crimes Thu, 16 Nov 2017 20:28:23 +0000 SKOWHEGAN — A former Pittsfield man was sentenced to serve 20 years in the Maine State Prison for sex crimes against a child under the age of 10, according to a news release from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said William Heiser, 61, now of Lewiston, pleaded guilty Nov. 9 to two counts of gross sexual assault, class A felonies.

As a Tier 3 lifetime registrant on the Maine Sex Offender Registry, Heiser will be under lifetime supervision when released. “This outcome is the result of a thorough investigation by the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division, Detective Jeremy Leal, and the efforts of Somerset County District Attorney’s Office,” Lancaster said in the release, which appeared on the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

Heiser was arrested on a warrant in May at his home.

Lancaster said the assaults took place from 2009 until 2012 in Pittsfield. Leal worked on the case with the Chittenden County Unit for Special Investigations in Burlington, Vermont, which provided a forensic specialist who interviewed the girl and obtained a full disclosure, he said.

The victim, now 16, made the allegations to a school mental health worker in Vermont, where she lives now, Lancaster said.

“The girl would have been under the age of 10,” Lancaster said. “These are extremely serious charges. These are significant charges, and the severity of these crimes do not minimize over time. These crimes have a lifetime emotional and physical impact on the victims.”

The investigation into the allegations led Leal to Lewiston, where Heiser was living. Leal, working with the Lewiston Police Department Detective Division, located and interviewed Heiser. During the interview, Heiser confessed to the assaults, according to Lancaster. After the interview, a warrant was granted by the court, and on May 12 the Lewiston Police Department arrested Heiser at his home. Heiser was taken to the Somerset County Jail in East Madison the following day.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367


]]> HeiserThu, 16 Nov 2017 16:35:18 +0000
Lincoln County deputy takes stand to deny sexual assaults Thu, 16 Nov 2017 18:28:53 +0000 AUGUSTA — Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III took the witness stand Thursday in Kennebec County Superior Court to deny he sexually assaulted three girls and provided them marijuana and alcohol.

But Hatch also said he did take the girls on rides in his cruiser while on patrols, and that one girl may have ridden with him more than 100 times.

The state rested its case Wednesday after the three women testified during parts of the first three days of the trial.

Hatch, 47, responded to questions by his attorney, Richard Elliott, to rebut the general allegations and specific details of what the alleged victims said occurred.

Hatch remains on unpaid leave from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. He faces 22 criminal charges involving the three girls. He was indicted in August 2016 after having been arrested earlier in the year.

The department had named him deputy of the year in 2015. He previously held the rank of detective sergeant but was demoted in 2013 for unspecified reasons. The Maine Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation but decided not to prosecute.

One girl said she was 6 years old when Hatch first assaulted her.

The sexual assaults occurred in his cruiser, his home, and once in a cubicle at the sheriff’s office, according to the alleged victims.

Hatch testified Thursday there were often a lot of young people at his home in Whitefield. He said he was the youngest of 10 children and there would be many family members on what was the family homestead.

The deputy said he and his wife would allow young people to spend time at their home. He said he would take them hunting and fishing. Hatch said he did this because those young people did not have positive home lives and he wanted to help.

Hatch said that one of the girls who has accused him of sexually assaulting her had become unhappy when he told her that he and his wife would not do more to help raise her baby. She also became upset, he said, when he stopped overseeing supervised visits between the baby and the child’s father.

The defense also tried to discredit Hatch’s accusers by asking the deputy to testify about a medical condition that he said affects the shape of his penis. Hatch testified that he took a photo of his genitals that will be shown to the jury as evidence.

The offenses allegedly occurred from September 1999 to January 2014.

One of the alleged victims had testified that Hatch alone had questioned her about her boyfriend who was suspected of being in a gang that threatened to blow up the Hartford, Connecticut, police department. Hatch said that he and another detective had interviewed the teenager at her home.

Under cross examination, Hatch acknowledged that the detective does not recall that interview.

Elliott showed a commendation that Hatch received for his role in the investigation into that case.

Justice William Stokes is presiding over the trial. There are eight women and seven men in the jury, which includes three alternates who will be excused before deliberations begin.

The trial could conclude Friday.

]]> HatchThu, 16 Nov 2017 22:00:51 +0000
Map: Explore 107 of Maine’s unsolved ‘cold case’ murders Thu, 16 Nov 2017 16:38:50 +0000 The map below illustrates the locations of Maine’s 107 cold cases from the past 40 years. Click on a circle to view details about each case.



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]]>, 17 Nov 2017 14:33:10 +0000
Lewiston police charge 4 juveniles in armory break-in Thu, 16 Nov 2017 14:55:31 +0000

A vending machine’s glass front was smashed by vandals at the Lewiston Memorial Armory. Christopher Williams/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Police say they have charged four juvenile suspects in connection with the Tuesday night break-in that caused damage at the armory on Central Avenue.

Lewiston detectives used surveillance video to identify the suspects, according to a statement from Lewiston Police Department.

The four suspects — ages 13 and 14 — were charged with aggravated criminal mischief and burglary, according to the statement. Both charges are felonies. Police say damage exceeded $200,000 — which elevated the criminal mischief charge.

Jason Hanken, superintendent of the Lewiston Recreation Division, said the vandals spray-painted graffiti on the gym floor and set off fire extinguishers. The glass front of a vending machine was smashed and items were taken. Eggs were taken from a refrigerator and flung about the building.

City officials said security cameras had been installed at the armory five months ago. Police did not say what they found in the footage.

]]> 0 siren lights genericThu, 16 Nov 2017 11:07:14 +0000
Police: Auburn man pointed stolen gun at girlfriend’s head before standoff Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:48:30 +0000 LEWISTON — A judge Wednesday set bail at $100,000 cash for an Auburn man who, police said, stole a gun two days earlier that led to a seven-hour police standoff in the city’s downtown area after he pointed the loaded gun at his girlfriend’s head.

Scott Andrew Estes, 37, of 902 Lodge Court in Auburn admitted Wednesday in 8th District Court to violating terms of his probation on a 2015 conviction for trafficking in prison contraband. He will be held without bail to serve the remainder of that two-year sentence.

Scott Estes appeared in the Lewiston District Court on Wednesday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

His probation officer claimed Estes had violated his probation when he broke the nose of his ex-wife in September, failed to report to probation and to give his address change. He also failed to contact probation that he had contact with police.

Judge Maria Woodman on Wednesday set bail at $100,000 cash on new charges stemming from Monday’s incident during which Estes barricaded himself in an apartment at 287 Bates St. after police spotted him on the street.

The Maine State Police Tactical Team was deployed at the site, but Estes eventually turned himself in without injury or shots fired. The apartment building was evacuated, the surrounding area secured and four city schools — Lewiston High School, Lewiston Regional Technical Center, Martel Elementary School and The Green Ladle culinary school — were locked down.

Police had followed up a tip that Estes had stolen a gun and was in the area of the Bates Street apartment. The Smith & Wesson .380-caliber pistol was traced back to its owner at a single-family home on Laase Avenue.

On Wednesday, Judge Woodman said Estes faced three felony charges in the standoff. He is charged with theft by unauthorized taking (a firearm), punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He also faces charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, each punishable by up to five years in prison.

The judge included in Estes’ bail conditions that he be barred from having dangerous weapons, including firearms. He must have no contact with Katherine Hutchins, 38, who had reported to police Monday morning that Estes, her boyfriend, had stolen a gun from a home she had been cleaning. She said she had driven Estes to the Bates Street apartment to visit friends there, according to an affidavit written by Detective Crystal Lachance.

Hutchins told police that Estes had pointed the gun, loaded with a clip, at the side of her head as she drove to Bates Street from the Laase Avenue home, where she had been cleaning.

She described Estes as “having a blank stare, like ‘Jeffrey Daumer.'” She tried to downplay her fright and told Estes he could sell the weapon, according to the affidavit.

As she drove, Hutchins texted the owner of the home she’d been cleaning to ask whether she was missing a gun. The owner responded that she was, indeed, missing a gun that had been hidden in a basket above her refrigerator.

Judge Woodman on Wednesday prohibited Estes from having any contact with the gun’s owner as well as a 32-year-old woman who had been with her 8-year-old child in the Bates Street apartment where Estes had holed up. Shortly after 1 p.m., she and her child escaped down a rear stairwell and left the building, according to the affidavit.

During their search of the Bates Street apartment building, police were told that Estes had texted someone to say he was in the woods by Bartlett Street and headed for the Lewiston High School area. As a precaution, police had ordered Lewiston High School and Martel School locked down. That order was lifted around 1:30 p.m. after police determined Estes was alone in the Bates Street apartment.

Estes surrendered to police shortly after 6 p.m.

]]> 0, 16 Nov 2017 08:59:03 +0000
Weeks later, fatal Saco shooting still baffles victim’s loved ones Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Mike Burns was a 54-year-old computer technician who traveled all over northern New England fixing the networks for some of the region’s most recognizable retailers, often in southern Maine.

His friends and family cannot figure out what brought Burns to the two-family house at 26 Nye St. in Saco, where he was shot to death in a glass-enclosed porch by a resident before 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 30.

Nearly seven weeks after he was killed, Maine State Police have said nothing about what led to his death, and people close to Burns can’t fathom why their friend – a devoted father and Boy Scout troop leader – died so violently.

“Mike was a pretty harmless individual,” said Dean Rondeau, chief of the Wolfeboro, N.H., police department and a friend who met Burns in college. “My friend was a lover, not a fighter. He was not about to confront somebody. He respected private property. Even though he was a big man, he was not a threat to anybody.”

Burns, who was twice divorced, lived in Rochester, where he was deeply involved in his local Boy Scout troop. His Facebook page is filled with images of troop retreats, team-building exercises in the woods, and a close-up image of a patch commemorating his decades of service to the organization.

Police investigate on Sept. 30 at 26 Nye St. in Saco, where Mike Burns was fatally shot. Nearly seven weeks later, police have said nothing about what led to his death. Staff photo by Carl D. Walsh

Burns had a strong personality, but was not confrontational, said Kimberly Houle, who divorced Burns in March. He hardly ever touched alcohol, was ardently against drug use, including marijuana, and did not show abusive or violent behavior toward anybody. Although he owned guns and was a Second Amendment advocate, he was not known to carry one regularly.

Police in Rochester said that in 20 years, he was pulled over eight times, given warnings during each stop, and was once involved in a traffic accident, in 2014. He was never arrested there or considered a suspect in any crime.

Little is known about the man who shot him. The resident at 26 Nye St. called police after the incident, but he has not been named, and no one has been charged. The two other people who were in the home at the time have not been identified.

Recent attempts to contact the first-floor tenants at the residence have been unsuccessful. During a visit this week by a reporter, a first-floor resident sat in his idling SUV at the end of his driveway as a reporter knocked on the door, but the man in the car did not respond.

Police have said that they have a pretty clear idea of what led to Burns’ killing, but they have not shared those details with his family or friends.

“We have a very good idea of what transpired, but we’re not going to be releasing any information tonight,” said Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland a day after the slaying.

The Saco Police Department has withheld a transcript of the 911 call the resident placed to authorities, citing the ongoing investigation.

A neighbor, Mark St. Ours, previously described the first-floor tenant as a friendly man in his 40s who helped maintain the rental property, and who enjoyed chatting with St. Ours about their mutual interest in guns.

Sometimes when he mowed the lawn, the first-floor resident wore a handgun holstered on his hip.

What brought Burns to the house that night and whether he and the tenant knew each other are shrouded in mystery.

Burns was a self-made, self-employed businessman who lived a quiet life, and was more likely to negotiate than to seek a fight.

“He didn’t swear. He didn’t think it was right,” Houle said. “He was not into any kind of unsavory business. So that’s why none of us can really understand what the heck happened that would make someone shoot him in the head.”

Houle said she met Burns when she was 17 and he was a senior at Norwich University in Vermont, one of the top military colleges in the United States.

The son of a well-known horse veterinarian in Rochester, Burns took after his entrepreneurial family, and put himself through private high school at Berwick Academy and through Norwich University by haying fields.

Houle said Burns was also dyslexic, a hurdle he overcame through hard work.

At Norwich, he studied history and government. After college, Burns enlisted in the Army Reserves – a somewhat unusual move for a Norwich graduate, many of whom go directly into active duty to start long careers working their way up the ranks.

In the reserves, Burns managed a mail room – a job that suited his personality, Rondeau said. His strength was as an organizer and manager, and not oriented toward combat jobs, Rondeau said.

After the reserves, Burns began working with computers, a field he stayed in all his life, his ex-wife said.

He was married once before, but divorced about 17 years ago. He has two sons from his first marriage, and both followed his example and joined the military. His oldest son, Michael Burns, is a West Point graduate and an active-duty first lieutenant. His younger son, Matthew, joined the Army reserves and served overseas in combat as a medic.

Houle, who married Burns in 2013, said that when Burns was not working, he was completely devoted to his sons, or recently, to her two daughters from a previous relationship. They went on innumerable camping, hiking and canoeing trips.

Burns was an Eagle Scout and got involved with the Boy Scouts again because of his sons. He led a troop in Rochester, and felt highly connected to the core values of self-reliance and responsibility that Scouting instills in its members, Houle and Rondeau said, continuing his involvement after his boys both went through the program.

Burns also embodied the self-reliance ideal. He was the sole proprietor of Atlantic Business Systems, and worked as a contractor for CrossCom, a company with offices in Illinois, Tennessee and Oklahoma that sells and services telephone systems and point-of-sale equipment for retailers.

The company dispatched Burns around Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts, Houle said. He often worked late, sometimes driving hours to get to his job sites, troubleshooting computer systems at major retailers.

So being in southern Maine was not unusual, Houle said, but he still wonders what Burns was doing on Nye Street.

“My brother and my sister and I, we’ve known Michael since the early ’80s, and we’ve gone over the scenarios in our heads,” Houle said. “How can you shoot someone in the head and kill him and then there’s nothing?

“There’s not even a manslaughter charge for Godsakes.”

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

]]> 0 Burns, shown with his ex-wife Kimberly Houle, was a devoted father and Boy Scout troop leader. He "was a lover, not a fighter."Thu, 16 Nov 2017 12:44:31 +0000
Car slams into Third Alarm Diner in Sanford; patron seriously injured Tue, 14 Nov 2017 23:49:21 +0000 A Sanford man was arrested and another man was hospitalized Tuesday after a car crashed into the Third Alarm Diner in Sanford.

Mark Nolet Photo courtesy of Sanford Police Department

Police said in a news release Tuesday night that three vehicles were involved in an accident at the intersection of Pioneer Avenue and Washington Street around 3:30 p.m., and one hit the diner at 47 Washington St., injuring patrons inside.

One man was seriously injured, Sanford police said. He was taken to Southern Maine Health Care in Sanford, then flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland by LifeFlight helicopter.

Sanford fire Lt. Kristen Hagan said the man was eating with his wife when the car hit the wall. She was not sure if the man was hit by the car or flying debris. His name had not been released by 7:50 p.m. Tuesday.

The driver of the car that hit the diner, Mark Nolet, 28, of Sanford, was arrested and charged with driving without a license, police said. He is scheduled to appear in Springvale District Court on Jan. 9.

The Sanford Fire Department said the car was traveling on Pioneer Avenue when it crossed over onto Washington Street and slammed into the diner.

A car protrudes from the building after crashing through a wall at the Third Alarm Diner at the intersection of Pioneer Avenue and Washington Street in Sanford on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Sanford Police Department

It missed the diner’s exterior mural, which depicts a firefighter holding a hose connected to a hydrant. The car was pulled out of the diner by a tow truck.

Police said the diner was extensively damaged and will be closed until repairs can be made. The diner gives 10 percent discounts to military personnel and firefighters.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

]]>, 15 Nov 2017 06:04:39 +0000
U.S. marshal warns Mainers of phone scam Tue, 14 Nov 2017 22:33:31 +0000 Lawmakers warn Mainers not to pay ‘fines’ by credit card to fake U.S. marshals and officials.

The U.S. Marshals Service issued a warning Tuesday about a nationwide phone scam involving criminals posing as U.S. marshals, court officers or other law enforcement officials.

The impostors urge their victims to pay a fine in lieu of arrest for failing to report to jury duty or other fabricated offenses, according to a statement issued by the marshals service.

The scammers tell their victims that they can avoid arrest by purchasing a prepaid debit card such as a Green Dot card or gift card. Victims are then asked to read their newly purchased card number over the phone in order to pay their debt.

“These are not victimless crimes,” said Noel March, U.S. marshal for Maine. “People have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers. This can be devastating, especially during the holidays.” March said the telephone scammers use many tactics to sound credible. They often provide badge numbers, names of law enforcement officials, federal judges and courthouse addresses. They may also “spoof,” or fake, their phone numbers to appear on caller ID as if they are calling from the court or a government agency.

“The U.S. Marshals would never ask for a credit/debit or gift card number or banking routing numbers or ask for funds to be wired for any purpose,” March said.

If the caller is urging a person to provide this type of information, the person should hang up and report the incident to authorities or to the Federal Trade Commission at

March said the FTC has the ability to detect patterns of fraud by using the information provided by a victim. The information can be shared with local police and could possibly lead to an arrest.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

]]> 0, 14 Nov 2017 22:07:46 +0000
Troy mother found guilty of manslaughter out on bail Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:48:35 +0000 Miranda Hopkins, the Troy mother recently found guilty of manslaughter in the death of her 7-week-old son in January, is free on bail, and her two other sons have been with relatives elsewhere since her initial arrest.

Hopkins is free on a $100,000 surety bond, with her bail set at $50,000 cash. Surety is different from typical bail in that it does not require the full amount upfront.

She was taken to the Waldo County Jail on Nov. 7 following the conclusion of her weeklong trial at Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast. All 12 members of the jury pronounced her guilty of manslaughter after deliberating for several hours.

Hopkins’ two other sons are ages 6 and 8 and were described repeatedly during the trial as “profoundly autistic” and nonverbal, capable of mostly just grunting and moaning noises. One of the boys can communicate somewhat through a tablet device. Both boys attended special-needs classes.

Hopkins’ attorneys, family, and friends maintained her innocence throughout her trial and continue to do so, positing that one or both of her two other sons must have been responsible for the infant Jaxson’s death last January.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 13 in Belfast, though that date could change going forward.

On Jan. 12 this year, Hopkins called 911 from her trailer home on North Dixmont Road in Troy, saying her infant son, Jaxson, was unresponsive. The infant was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the baby’s death was listed as blunt force trauma that included cuts and bruises on the head and skull, rib fractures, and bleeding on the surface of the brain.

Hopkins, 32, was arrested the next day. She was charged originally with knowing or depraved indifference murder, punishable by 25 years to life in prison. She was indicted by a Waldo County grand jury in February on a lesser charge of manslaughter.

After the guilty verdict was rendered, Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said the state wanted to see Hopkins given a long sentence. Manslaughter, a class A felony, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Hopkins’ defense had sought to have the results of a polygraph test introduced as evidence during the trial, which they claim demonstrated a 99 percent certainty that Hopkins was telling the truth when she said she did not kill her son Jaxson.

Hopkins initially told police investigators that she woke to find Jaxson cold and stiff to the touch in her bed, but later admitted she lied after having fallen asleep on the floor in her other two sons’ room, leaving the infant on the couch in the living room. She admitted having drunk five to seven shots of whiskey that night, smoked marijuana and taken a Benadryl for congestion.

Throughout the trial, the defense argued that because the older sons were autistic, keeping a regular routine was essential. Witnesses called by the defense said that the boys could become violent at any time. The defense argued that Hopkins falling asleep drunk in the older brothers’ bedroom with Jaxson on the couch deviated from the routine.

Cathy Dionne, executive director of the Autism Society of Maine, said routine is important for families with autistic children, and removing them from their Troy home and changing schools could provide a challenge to the family watching the boys. She said at their ages, they are old enough to know that they have a routine in place, and while routines can be changed, a total move is a drastic change. She said changes to a routine should be done in small, incremental steps.

Dionne said if the children have to switch to a new school, she hopes that school is aware of whatever communication needs the boys have. Dionne said her organization recommends sticking to the children’s routine as much as possible and creating a familiar environment, which could mean getting furniture and toys from their Troy home that they are used to. She said it can be less challenging if the boys are familiar with the family they are staying with, such as if they are family members.

In a totally new environment, she said, it was possible there could be behavioral challenges to come.

“It will hugely disrupt these children,” she said.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

Twitter: @colinoellis


]]> 0, 15 Nov 2017 12:28:16 +0000
Florida man gets federal prison time for credit card fraud in Maine Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:19:22 +0000 A Florida man was sentenced Tuesday to three years and four months in federal prison for his role in a credit card fraud and identity theft scheme in Maine.

Yaisder Herrera Gargallo, 24, of Miami was also sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Gargallo pleaded guilty to the charges in June in U.S. District Court in Portland, where the sentencing also took place.

Authorities said Gargallo and three others used stolen credit card numbers to buy merchandise in late 2015 and early 2016. In June 2016, the four traveled to Maine, where Gargallo bought more than $400 worth of merchandise at a Portland Walgreens using a stolen card number. After making another fraudulent purchase using a different card number the next day at another Portland Walgreens, workers at the store notified police, and a Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy stopped a car with three men and a woman in it, discovering merchandise, fraudulent credit cards and a laptop computer later found to contain stolen credit card numbers.

Gargallo’s three co-defendants – Jose Castillo Febles, Juan Carlos Febles and Meylisi Rueda – have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

]]> 0 companies, such as gyms and dating websites, can take a hit when customers don’t update accounts after receiving a new payment card.Tue, 14 Nov 2017 21:24:43 +0000
After thefts, Windham police urge people to lock car doors Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:28:04 +0000 Windham police are warning residents to take a simple step to prevent car thefts: Lock your car doors.

The police posted on Facebook on Tuesday about a rash of thefts on Falmouth Road. The thefts, which happened Monday night, all occurred in cars that weren’t locked.

“Though we have had windows broken out in the past, generally speaking if you lock your doors, your car won’t get broken into,” the police said on Facebook.

The post goes on to note that criminals are looking for easy targets and locking doors is a simple step people should be taking.

“This is in no way blaming the victims … this is on the criminals who committed the acts!” the police said.

]]> 0, 14 Nov 2017 17:55:16 +0000
Police accuse 19-year-old of sexually assaulting 2 women in West Gardiner home Mon, 13 Nov 2017 21:54:15 +0000 AUGUSTA — A 19-year-old man has been charged with four felony counts of gross sexual assault, after two women alleged that he sexually assaulted them in a West Gardiner home.

Joseph Berglund was arrested Saturday and made his first appearance in court Monday afternoon, via a video feed from the Kennebec County jail.

In their complaint against Berglund, prosecutors are charging him with two class B counts of gross sexual assault, each punishable by up to 10 years in jail, and two class C counts of gross sexual assault, punishable by up to five years.

Berglund’s town of residence was not listed in the probable cause affidavit written by a member of the Maine State Police, which detailed the allegations.

During Berglund’s court appearance on Monday, Justice Donald Marden set his bail at $10,000 surety or $2,000 cash with a Maine Pretrial Services contract. Marden also approved bail conditions the state recommended for Berglund, including a curfew and an order against having any contact with the alleged victims.

The state initially requested $10,000 cash bail, but an attorney representing Berglund, Henry Beck, called that amount “terribly high” and proposed a lower amount, $1,000 secured, with a contract.

“Two class B allegations and two class C allegations would call for a higher bail than that,” Marden said, before making his decision. “It obviously has to be reasonable under the circumstances.”

Berglund will not be called upon to enter a plea, Marden told him, until a grand jury reviews the state’s case and decides whether to indict him.

Berglund was arrested on Saturday by a member of the Maine State Police, Scott Quintero, who described the allegations against him in a probable cause affidavit filed at the Capital Judicial Center.

Both women told police that they were asleep in the same West Gardiner home when Berglund allegedly removed their pants and assaulted them, Quintero wrote. Immediately afterward, they went to the Gardiner Police Department to make the allegations, according to Quintero.

The document provided little other information about the complaints.

At several points during the court appearance on Monday afternoon, Marden asked Berglund if he understood the proceedings, and Berglund said that he did. Otherwise, Beck did most of the talking during the hearing, which was attended by a couple of Berglund’s family members.

Berglund’s next court appearance will be Dec. 12. Going forward, he will be represented by local attorney Walter McKee, at whose firm Beck works. disables reader comments on certain news stories, including those dealing with sexual assaults and other violent crimes, personal tragedy, racism and other forms of discrimination.

This story was updated on Tuesday, November 14 at 7:58 am to reflect that the alleged assaults occurred in West Gardiner, not Gardiner as previously reported. 

]]> BerglundTue, 14 Nov 2017 09:14:18 +0000
Portland landlord hires lawyer to continue appeal in fatal fire Mon, 13 Nov 2017 20:36:07 +0000 Court officials say a Portland landlord convicted of code violations in a fatal fire has found a new lawyer and is continuing his appeal.

Gregory Nisbet sought a new trial when he was convicted of code violations stemming from a November 2014 fire that killed six people. His lawyers later asked to be removed from the appeal.

Court officials say Nisbet is now represented by Luke Rioux of Portland and has until Jan. 9 to file an appellate brief.

Nisbet was acquitted of six counts of manslaughter in the same trial that resulted in his conviction on code violations. The violations were related to the safety of the apartment building. Authorities said the fire started in a cigarette disposal container.

Nisbet was sentenced to three months in jail last year.

]]>, 13 Nov 2017 18:39:28 +0000
Former Massachusetts priest reindicted on Maine sex abuse charges Mon, 13 Nov 2017 20:33:55 +0000 The York County grand jury has reindicted a former priest from Massachusetts who is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing two boys he brought to Maine in the 1980s.

Ronald Paquin now faces 31 counts of sexual abuse in York County. He was originally indicted in February on 29 counts of sexual abuse for acts he allegedly committed in the mid- to late 1980s when he brought the boys to Maine for “short-term stays,” Kennebunk Police Chief Craig Sanford said at the time Paquin was charged. Sanford would not say where the alleged abuse occurred, other than to describe it as “a seasonal location,” or provide any other information on the charges.

Paquin, 74, has been held at the York County Jail since he was arrested and formally charged in February.

Paquin, who was removed from the priesthood in 2002, was a key figure in the Massachusetts priest sex abuse scandal in the early 2000s and pleaded guilty in 2002 to repeatedly raping a Haverhill, Massachusetts, altar boy in the late 1980s and early 1990s, beginning when the boy was 12. Paquin was jailed in Massachusetts until 2015, when specialists said he no longer met the criteria to be considered sexually dangerous.

Keith Townsend told The Boston Globe in February that he was one of the victims of the alleged crimes listed in the Maine indictment and said he told Maine authorities about Paquin when he heard that the former priest had been released from prison in Massachusetts. He told the Globe that Paquin began abusing him when he was 8 or 9 years old, both in Massachusetts and also at a camp in Kennebunk.

There is no statute of limitations in Maine on sexual abuse of minors.

Kathryn Slattery, the York County district attorney, did not return calls seeking comment.

Heather Gonzales, Paquin’s court-appointed lawyer, said the two additional charges apparently came about after prosecutors met Townsend to try to provide more specific dates on the alleged offenses in Maine. That resulted in two more counts being added and led to the reindictment, she said.

The indictment covers alleged sexual abuse that took place between early 1986 and late 1988. It lists broad date ranges of a month or more for each of the counts.

Taking young boys on out-of-state trips was a common tactic among priests who committed sexual abuse, Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston lawyer who represented many victims of sexual abuse by priests, said at the time that Paquin was initially charged in Maine. He said the parents of the boys often thought that the offer by a priest to take a boy on such a trip was an honor and the parents would think there was something wrong with their child if he resisted subsequent offers of trips. disables reader comments on certain news stories, including those dealing with sexual assaults and other violent crimes, personal tragedy, racism and other forms of discrimination.

]]> PaquinMon, 13 Nov 2017 22:04:14 +0000
Man suspected of stealing handgun arrested after 7-hour standoff with Lewiston police Mon, 13 Nov 2017 17:52:48 +0000 LEWISTON — A man suspected of stealing a handgun from a Lewiston residence Monday morning was arrested at a downtown apartment building after a lengthy standoff with police, authorities said.

Scott Andrew Estes, 37, of Lewiston was taken into custody by police at 6:20 p.m. more than seven hours after he barricaded himself in an apartment at 287 Bates St., Lewiston police Lt. Dave St. Pierre said. A firearm was recovered, the officer said.

Estes was booked at the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn later Monday night, a jailer said. He is charged with theft by unauthorized taking (firearm), criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and probation revocation from a pre-existing warrant, St. Pierre said in a news release.

The incident began around 9 a.m. with a report to police of a small-caliber pistol being taken from a Lewiston residence, police said. As a precaution, nearby Lewiston High School, Lewiston Regional Technical Center, The Green Ladle culinary school and Martel Elementary School, all on East Avenue, were locked down from about noon to 1:30 p.m.

Scott Andrew Estes

Shortly after 11 a.m., the suspect was seen running into the apartment building on Bates Street, prompting police to cordon off the neighborhood and bring in the Maine State Police tactical team, St. Pierre said.

Lewiston police and Maine State Police were assisted by members of the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office in safeguarding surrounding streets and alleyways.

Laura Wynands and her husband live in the building across the street from the Bates Street apartment building with their daughter and said they went outside to see what was happening.

Maine State Police Tactical Team members head to 287 Bates St. in lewiston to negotiate with Scott Andrew Estes. Sun Journal/Daryn Slover

“I was wondering what they were doing,” Laura Wynands said. “There were four or five cops around and then suddenly a lot of undercover cops cars and cruisers were here.”

She said a few hours later they blocked off all the streets and told her a man had stolen a gun and ran into the building at 287 Bates St.

“I took my daughter to get a jacket this morning and when I came back a detective said she couldn’t come outside because of the severity of the situation,” Laura Wynands said.

“All over a stolen gun,” her husband said.

Police said there were no threats directed at the schools or any reason to believe students or staff were ever in any danger.

Assistant Superintendent Shawn Chabot said the high school was locked down “because police advised it. There’s nothing inside the building (that is a threat). Kids are staying in their classrooms.” Police were on the premises, he said.

A notice from the school to parents and staff said: “We are in a lockdown at Lewiston High School. There has been a report of a threat outside of the school. There are no safety concerns inside the school. Lewiston Police Department is conducting a sweep of our area to make sure the grounds are safe.”

The notice requested people not to come to the school at that time.

Seth Hutchinson, 17, was in his automotive technology classroom Monday at Lewiston Regional Technical Center when the lockdown announcement came over the intercom.

For hundreds of high school students it meant they didn’t eat.

“Everybody in LRTC did not eat today,” Hutchinson said. “That’s a lot of kids. They could have handled that better. … They should have found a way to get us food. We were starving.”

The Maine State Police Crisis Negotiation Team sets up on Bates Street in Lewiston after Estes barricaded himself in an apartment. Sun Journal/Daryn Slover

High School Principal Jake Langlais said as soon as he was made aware of the situation, “we moved kids in the cafeteria to safer locations away from windows. That resulted in some not finishing their lunch.”

Langlais said he addressed students over the intercom.

“I told students, ‘I need you to get to the nearest classroom and follow lockdown procedures.’ I did tell them this was a real threat on the outside of the campus. There were no threats on our building. I wanted the students to know there were police surrounding the area. We were going to be safe.”

Langlais added: “There certainly was some anxiety. People knew this was real and not a drill.”

Classes were dismissed at 2 p.m. as usual, but after-school activities were called off, Langlais said.

He said he updated students at 1:40 and at 1:55 p.m.

“I shared that the Lewiston Police Department had isolated the threat, there was no longer a situation about safety on our campus,” Langlais said.

He said parents were sent emails or voicemails and he tweeted about the lockdown.

]]> 0 Resource Officer Charlie Weaver of the Lewiston Police Department talks with a motorist about the lockdown at Lewiston High School on Monday. Tue, 14 Nov 2017 17:56:20 +0000
Testimony begins in trial of Lincoln County deputy accused of sexual assaults Mon, 13 Nov 2017 16:42:34 +0000 AUGUSTA — A decorated Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy preyed on girls for his own sexual gratification, Assistant Attorney General John Risler said during his opening statement in the officer’s trial in Kennebec County Superior Court on Monday.

Kenneth Hatch III is charged with 22 criminal counts that are alleged to have occurred from September 1999 until January 2014 in Lincoln County, including 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Hatch has denied all of the charges. He is free on bail and remains on unpaid administrative leave from the sheriff’s office.

Hatch’s attorney, Richard Elliott, said in his opening statement that the case resulted from a false claim by one young girl who bragged that Hatch was the father of her child to show that she knew someone inside the sheriff’s office.

Elliott said a paternity test proved that Hatch was not the father of the child, adding that Hatch could not be the father because he had never had sex with the girl.

Elliott repeatedly referred to the prosecution as a “machine” and said the state generated 22 charges in hopes that it could get even a few convictions. He said the time frames of the alleged offenses are so vague that it is impossible for his client to provide alibis.

Elliott said his client does not have to testify, but that he will and he denies all the accusations.

He said Hatch is a combat veteran who saw service in Kuwait City and is a veteran law enforcement officer.

Hatch was named the sheriff’s office’s Deputy of the Year in 2015. He had previously been a detective sergeant, but was demoted in 2013 for unspecified reasons.

Elliott said the three girls listed as victims have a connection. He said a brother of one of the girls is the boyfriend of another girl listed as a victim. He said the third girl’s boyfriend had been investigated by Hatch for the boyfriend’s possible role in a plot to bomb a police station.

Risler, the prosecutor, detailed in his opening statement what witnesses would say about the sexual assaults by Hatch against the three girls. He said the victims may not be perfect, but that is why Hatch picked the girls.

Risler said Hatch’s darker side would come out soon after starting a relationship with the girls.

The sexual assaults occurred in Hatch’s cruiser, his home, and once in a cubicle at the sheriff’s office. One victim was 6 years old when the assaults began, the prosecutor said.

When that girl got older, Hatch would provide her with alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana in exchange for sex. Hatch used the marijuana as leverage to get sex, Risler said. One time, Hatch pulled over a motorist, confiscated two ounces of pot and gave that to the girl, the prosecutor said.

Justice William Stokes is presiding over the jury trial that is expected to last seven days. The 14 jurors and alternates are evenly divided between men and women.

Hatch was indicted in August 2016 in Knox County, and the case was transferred to Kennebec County for trial.

The case was investigated by Peter Lizanecz, a detective in the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

The first of the alleged victims took the stand late Monday morning. The woman, now 30 years old, said Hatch would provide her with liquor, gifts and paid for her to attend events. One gift that Hatch purchased for her was a dress for a school dance, the woman said.

A photo of the woman in the dress when she was a girl was shown to jurors.

The woman said the first incident of Hatch and her having sex was when she was a high school freshman in 2001 and Hatch had picked her up from her boyfriend’s home. The girl said Hatch was in uniform and he removed her pants and underwear and had sex with her in the back seat of the cruiser.

The second time they had sex was at his home in Whitefield. The rest of Hatch’s family was at a soccer game of one of his children, the woman said.

She said she avoided going to Hatch’s home again for a while until she was there as Hatch’s family gathered for the death of a family member. She said she went down into the basement for a smoke and he came downstairs and had sex with her.

She said the next time she had contact with Hatch was when he came to her mother’s house and questioned her about a boy she was dating who was suspected of being a gang member involved in a plot to blow up the police station in Hartford, Connecticut.

The woman said neither she nor her boyfriend were ever charged.

She said she believed Hatch made up the allegation to show her that he could protect her from being charged.

The Press Herald doesn’t identify victims of alleged sexual assaults without their consent.

]]> 0 County Deputy Sheriff Ken Hatch listens Monday to opening remarks at his trial on 22 charges, including sexual abuse of a minor, in Augusta. Hatch is on unpaid leave from the agency. Mon, 13 Nov 2017 22:39:09 +0000
Brunswick police want help in stolen ATM case Sun, 12 Nov 2017 19:08:46 +0000 A $2,500 award is being offered for helping to solve the theft of an ATM from the Miss Brunswick Diner last month.

Brunswick Police said in a press release that the ATM was stolen Oct. 31 from the diner, which is located at 101 Pleasant St.

Police said the company that owns the ATM is offering a $2,500 award to anyone who provides information that leads to the apprehension and prosecution of the suspect or suspects involved in the theft.

People with information are asked to contact Detective John Roma of the Brunswick Police Department at 721-4341 or by email at

]]> 0 Sun, 12 Nov 2017 19:00:41 +0000
Standish woman arrested in stabbing of man Sun, 12 Nov 2017 02:38:51 +0000 A Standish woman was arrested Saturday afternoon after she allegedly stabbed a man at a residence there.

Melissa Ann Solak, 38, was charged with aggravated assault – domestic violence, Class B, and was being held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail.

Cumberland County sheriff’s deputies were called to 3 Sunset Drive around 4:15 p.m. for a reported stabbing, Capt. Don Goulet said in a news release. Solak allegedly stabbed a 36-year-old man in the hand with a knife during an argument, according to Goulet. The wound was not life-threatening, he said.

The man fled the house to a nearby residence and called 911, Goulet said. Deputies found Solak at the Sunset Drive residence and arrested her without incident, Goulet added.

A Class B crime is a felony that carries a punishment of up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. disables reader comments on certain news stories, including those dealing with sexual assaults and other violent crimes, personal tragedy, racism and other forms of discrimination.

]]> SolakSat, 11 Nov 2017 22:03:50 +0000
Free but still convicted, Sanborn at peace with deal that put prison behind him Fri, 10 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 Anthony H. Sanborn Jr. says he cut a deal and walked away from his post-conviction review hearing because he could not stomach the thought of going back to prison if he lost, and he wanted his ordeal in the court system to be over.

Meanwhile, the state Attorney General’s Office, which prosecuted the case, said it was prepared to retry Sanborn, believed his original conviction was and is sound, and that nothing in the hearings has given the office any reason to re-examine other cases handled by the officers who investigated the murder of Jessica Briggs, for which Sanborn was convicted in 1992.

In a phone interview Thursday, Sanborn said he felt as if a load had been lifted from his chest knowing that he is no longer in jeopardy of losing his freedom. The deal, finalized Wednesday afternoon, resentenced Sanborn to time served, but also means the murder conviction remains intact.

“I woke up this morning and I thought, ‘I’m free, I don’t have to worry about going to the jail again.’ No one has to hurt anymore.”

While he had hoped all along to clear his name and wipe the murder conviction from his record, Sanborn said he is at peace with his decision.

The deal was first presented to him Tuesday afternoon, after the subject came up in a judicial conference with Justice Joyce Wheeler. That conference was held after Hope Cady, the state’s star eyewitness in 1992, affirmed her recantation of her original trial testimony.

Sanborn weighed the deal, going back and forth in his mind – and with his wife – until Wednesday morning, when court proceedings were delayed as attorneys continued to huddle with each other and with Sanborn.


The top criminal prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office, Lisa Marchese, said the underlying principles of the deal had been known to both parties as a possible resolution for months. She also suggested that the hearings, which were in their fifth week of testimony, may not have been going Sanborn’s way.

Anthony Sanborn walks out of court a free man Wednesday. He agreed to a deal with the state that keeps him out of prison, where he spent 27 years for the murder of Jessica Briggs, but leaves the conviction on his record. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

“I don’t think the hearing was going quite the way that Mr. Sanborn had hoped it would go,” Marchese said. “I think there’s a lot of evidence to demonstrate that there was not prosecutorial misconduct, there was not bad faith in any of the detectives.”

However, one of Sanborn’s attorneys did not believe their case was headed for defeat at the hearing.

“I think we put on a very strong case for misconduct, multiple Brady violations and perjury, and I believe we had made our case for that,” Amy Fairfield said. “I can’t speak to why they did (the deal), but I think that they were worried about the risk involved – that Tony would have been exonerated.

“I think a retrial in this case would have been near impossible for the state, because the investigation was so flawed and so corrupt that you could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.”

Jessica Briggs, the murder victim

The deal Sanborn accepted was an agreement for resentencing. He and his attorneys agreed to drop their claims that police and prosecutors framed him for Briggs’ murder. In exchange, the state agreed to support a request for Sanborn to be resentenced, conforming with U.S. Supreme Court doctrine holding that children convicted of murder must be sentenced differently than adults. Sanborn originally was sentenced to 70 years in Maine State Prison.

The outcome, while a relief for Sanborn, has still left him deeply mistrustful of the court system, with the exception of Justice Wheeler.

“I have the utmost respect for her,” Sanborn said of the active-retired justice. “Right from the start she had an impossible decision to make and she had the intestinal fortitude to make it. If she had a final decision, it wouldn’t even be a roll of the dice because I believe 1,000 percent she believed in me, but not everyone else does.”


Marchese, meanwhile, said Thursday she believes Sanborn’s conviction was solid.

“It is my view that (Sanborn) was properly convicted in 1992, that his counsel acted appropriately and defended him appropriately and (former detectives) Jim Daniels and Danny Young and (former prosecutor) Pam Ames did not do what was alleged that they did. I’ve known these people all of my career and I do not believe for a second that they did all of the things that it was alleged.”

Marchese declined to discuss whether she believed there were defects in the original case and trial.

“I’m not going to go there with you on this. There are so many details and allegations. I’m not the one who should be talking to you about that,” Marchese said. “There was nothing that amounted to a violation that would have changed the outcome of the trial. Let’s say Judge Wheeler ordered a new trial, we believe Anthony Sanborn would have been convicted again.”

Marchese said the Attorney General’s Office, as a practice, has embraced the process of correcting mistakes when they come to the office’s attention. In 2015, for instance, when a sweeping FBI investigation found that analysts overstated the certainty of comparative hair and fiber evidence, Marchese’s office acted.

“We notified every inmate that we can find, that would have been impacted by that, and let them know about that,” Marchese said.

But she said her office would not consider re-examining cases worked by Daniels and Young, the retired detectives who investigated Sanborn’s case. To do so would acknowledge that either officer committed some wrongdoing, which she said was not the case. Although the investigation was not perfect, any deficiencies did not lead to an unjust result, she said.

“I don’t want to come off to you that everything was perfect here,” Marchese said. “But I have a hard time with some of the allegations that are just to me – I don’t know how much you follow Danny Young’s career, but he is one of the finest detectives I have ever met. And some of the allegations are offensive to me. I have personally done several cases with him, and I’ve always found him to be honest, hardworking and non-threatening.”


Marchese said the hearings process was not a waste of time – it was necessary to sort out whether the allegations Sanborn made had merit, and also served to show the public that there is a process for examining whether justice was done.

“I don’t want the public to be left with any perception that our system is broken, because I don’t think it is,” Marchese said. “We have processes. He had this hearing. This result couldn’t have come to be unless (Sanborn) agreed to it. So the process works, and again, here it has worked.”

For Sanborn, those concerns are fading. He may never believe that justice was done in his case, but he and his wife are moving forward.

“It’s not justice, it’s not even close to justice, but at the same time, I want to pick up the pieces and move on,” Sanborn said. “It’s what I’ve always done my whole life. When I got a 70-year sentence for a murder I didn’t do, what choice did I have? I picked up the pieces and moved on.”

]]> 0 and Michelle Sanborn lace up their skates Thursday at Rollodrome in Auburn, a day after a deal during his post-conviction review freed him from the rest of his 70-year sentence.Fri, 10 Nov 2017 12:43:41 +0000
Three men charged with selling drugs from Brunswick mobile home park Fri, 10 Nov 2017 03:00:34 +0000 Three men who allegedly conducted a large scale heroin and crack cocaine trafficking operation from a mobile home park in Brunswick were charged this week with unlawful trafficking, a Class B crime.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, issued a statement Thursday that said the men trafficked drugs from a home in the Maplewood Manor mobile home park, which is located off the Old Bath Road near Cooks Corner.

“A substantial amount of heroin, crack cocaine and firearms were seized,” McCausland said in the release.

Drug agents with the Mid Coast District Task Force along with officers from the Brunswick and Bath police departments and Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday seized 20 grams of crack cocaine, 8 grams of heroin, a .40-caliber handgun, a 12-gauge shotgun and $5,600 in suspected drug proceeds from the Front Street home.

Tireek Donato, 28, and 32-year-old Gerell Yanes, both of Brooklyn, New York, were arrested and charged with unlawful trafficking in schedule drugs. Donato and Yanes were transported to the Cumberland County Jail in Portland where their bail was set at $10,000 cash.

Matthew Chase, 40, of Brunswick was summonsed for unlawful trafficking in schedule drugs.

]]> 0 Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:03:45 +0000
Man arrested after Walmart scuffle charged with illegal possession of firearm Fri, 10 Nov 2017 02:46:55 +0000 AUGUSTA — A criminal complaint filed Thursday against an Augusta man arrested after a violent altercation at the Augusta Walmart charges Robert Potter with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

The complaint says Potter, 31, was convicted in January 2016 in Auburn Superior Court of domestic violence assault, which barred him from owning a firearm.

Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Thursday that Potter remains in Riverview Psychiatric Center for evaluation.

Potter was taken into custody by Augusta police Monday night after a violent altercation in Walmart during which a gun was fired.

A woman, who remains unidentified, apparently saw the confrontation and ran to her car in the parking lot. She suffered a medical problem and despite efforts to help her, she died at the scene.

That death is being treated as a separate incident.

The incident began when an Augusta man told Potter his boot lace was untied.

Kevin Roberge said in an interview with the Kennebec Journal that he had noticed the man’s boot lace was untied and let him know it. That’s when the man started following him from the checkout area across to the Dunkin’ Donuts counter, where Roberge had planned to wait for a cab to take him home. He said the man, whose name he didn’t know at the time, grabbed his arm and shouted for Roberge to get on the ground.

Instead, Roberge said he grabbed the barrel of the gun to keep it from being pointed at him, and he struggled with Potter until police arrived. During the struggle, a shot was fired.

Roberge said it appeared Potter “wasn’t together, mentally,” and that when he was in police custody, he shouted out his name and rank.

On Thursday, the Army confirmed that Potter had served from May 2008 to November 2012, with two deployments in Iraq. During his service, Potter earned awards including the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star.

While Potter specifically was banned from carrying a firearm because of his conviction on a domestic violence assault charge, he did not run afoul of Walmart policies by carrying it in the store.

Walmart spokesman Charles Crowson said the company’s stores comply with all federal, state and local laws about carrying concealed weapons, and there is no prohibition at the Augusta Walmart store against carrying them.

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

]]> 0, 09 Nov 2017 22:06:34 +0000