A former Old Orchard Beach couple has been given just a small taste of what Eric Auger went through last year after they falsely accused the mentally ill man of trying to abduct their 3-year-old son.

Auger was arrested and spent three weeks in York County Jail, where other inmates accused him of being a child molester and urged him to kill himself.

Old Orchard Beach police ordered the charges against him dropped after they determined that Clyde Huff III, 36, and Shelly Prescott, 32, who now live in Cameron, Texas, were lying.

Huff pleaded guilty Tuesday in Biddeford District Court to filing a false report, unsworn falsification and violating bail conditions. Prescott did the same Friday. Both were sentenced to 30 days in jail.

“Nothing is more valuable in life to most people than their freedom and reputation. Mr. Huff and his accomplice (Prescott) robbed Eric Auger of both,” Auger’s lawyer, Bernard Broder III, wrote in a victim impact statement presented in court Tuesday.

“The nature of the allegations resulted in Mr. Auger being subjected to all of the indignities associated with a felony-level arrest and with him being in maximum security at the jail for several weeks,” Broder wrote. “While at the jail, Mr. Auger suffered repeated and severe acts of humiliation and degradation at the hands of other inmates.”

Auger endured death threats in jail and after his release, Broder wrote.

Auger, 38, agreed with the recommended sentence because a longer sentence would do little to undo the harm done to him or what he is likely to endure in the small community in the future, Broder said in the statement.

“It will likely be a long time, if ever, before people will not view him with suspicion,” the statement said. Auger is known by many in the Saco-Old Orchard Beach area as someone whose illness makes him prone to loud, sometimes frightening outbursts, though he has no history of violence.

Huff and Prescott were originally jailed last month when they failed to show up for an earlier court date, but were given credit this week for the time they had already spent in jail.

Prescott’s 30 days — with time off for good behavior — was completed Monday and she was released.

Huff is nearing the end of his 30 days, but is also serving a 90-day concurrent sentence on a domestic violence conviction.

The incident that started the case happened June 22, 2010, when the pair claimed that Auger had been hanging around the Pine Grove cabins, where they were staying, and at one point grabbed their son and started to run. Huff said he pursued Auger, grabbed the child from him and chased Auger away. Prescott said she saw it all.

“Have seen the man for two weeks. Caught him one time prior talking to my son,” Prescott wrote in her statement to police. “Saw him grab my baby and run. Happened so quickly we chased him. Got the baby Husband proceeded to chase him until the cops arrived.”

Huff said he ripped the child from Auger’s hands.

Police found Auger and charged him with a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. Auger, who suffers from bipolar disorder, denied interacting with the child at all and ran from Huff because he didn’t want to fight with him.

Detective Brady Coulombe said the couple’s story kept changing, and when he asked to interview Prescott’s sister and 5-year-old child, who were there at the time, Prescott and Huff were evasive.

Coulombe did interview James Boulay, a painter working nearby who said he watched the events unfold and never saw Auger grab the child. He said the child walked up to Auger, shook his hand, and then Prescott yelled at the boy and he retreated.

Moments later, a car pulled up and Huff got out, screamed at Auger and asked what he was doing next to his son. Auger said he didn’t know what the man was talking about and finally ran away as Huff kept shoving him, Boulay said.

Confronted with the new information, Prescott and Huff changed their story. The pair were eventually charged, and police issued a news release to try to counteract the stigma that Auger faced.

“We really wanted to clear his name as well,” Coulombe said.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]